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Clinical research

Volumetric assessment of lesion severity with optical coherence tomography: relationship with fractional flow reserve

Aims: Frequency-domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT) provides a rapid tomographic scan of a coronary vessel, with an accurate reconstruction of its lumen profile. An FD-OCT-based metric that corresponds more closely with physiological significance of lesions may enable more precise guidance of interventional procedures. The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate a new method for quantifying coronary lesion severity that estimates hyperaemic flow resistance of branched vessel segments imaged by FD-OCT.

Methods and results: An analytical flow model was developed that relates fractional flow reserve (FFR) to the vascular resistance ratio (VRR), a measure of blood flow resistance derived from volumetric FD-OCT lumen profiles. The VRR-FFR relationship was evaluated in 21 patients on whom both pressure measurement and FD-OCT imaging were performed in a random order during maximal hyperaemia. Lesion severity assessed by VRR showed a stronger linear correlation with FFR measurements (before model optimisation [blinded]: r=0.81; p<0.001; root mean square error [RMSE]=0.095 FFR units; after model optimisation [unblinded]: r=0.91; p<0.001; RMSE=0.066 FFR units) than quantitative coronary angiography and FD-OCT-derived measurements of minimum lumen area (r=0.67; p=0.0012) and per cent area stenosis (r=–0.61; p=0.004).

Conclusions: Accurate volumetric measurement of the lumen profile with FD-OCT correlates more closely with FFR than standard metrics derived from single image cross-sections. VRR shows promise as a method for evaluating lesion severity.

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