A study conducted at Baptist Health Lexington looked at the possibility of predicting a stroke using a new tool called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). The ability to literally peer into the composition of any plaque – the fatty build-up that can obstruct the blood vessels that feed the brain and cause a stroke – is now available. This technology has the potential to alter how physicians understand and treat carotid artery disease, which is one of the leading causes of strokes.
The study, conducted between September 2010 and May 2012, was featured in the June 2014 issue of the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) Cardiovascular Interventions. Interventional cardiologist Dr. Michael R. Jones served as a principal investigator of the study, which also included neurosurgeons Dr. William H. Brooks and Dr. Christian N. Ramsey, neurointerventional radiologist Dr. Curtis A. Given II, along with physicians from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Pitangueiras Hospital in Jundiai, Brazil.
The study involved a retrospective review of 53 patients suspected of having carotid artery stenosis, a narrowing caused by the build-up of plaque. The patients underwent diagnostic carotid angiography, a standard imaging technique used to detect carotid artery stenosis. They also underwent OCT, a new, high-frequency imaging technique that creates images 10 times clearer than older imaging techniques.
Patients involved in the study were either symptomatic – had experienced symptoms suggestive of a stroke – or were asymptomatic – had experienced no symptoms suggestive of a stroke but were considered at high risk for a stroke due to certain risk factors.
A complimentary editorial accompanying this publication calls the research “pioneering” and adds that investigators “expand our knowledge of the carotid artery microenvironment, providing important insights regarding carotid stenosis quantification and plaque characterization.”
Baptist Health Lexington has developed an impressive reputation for its carotid artery disease research studies. It is one of only a few places in the world that is doing this type of groundbreaking research.