The pathophysiology of acute coronary syndromes has long been associated with atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Inflammation, thinning, and disruption of the fibrous cap have been implicated with the final processes leading to plaque rupture, but confirmation of these mechanisms of coronary thrombosis in humans has been hampered by the lack of imaging methods with sufficient resolution to resolve fibrous cap characterization and thickness in vivo. Intravascular optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides images with micron-level axial and lateral resolution, enabling detailed visualization of micro-structural changes of the arterial wall. The present article provides an overview of the potential role of OCT in identifying and characterizing fibrous cap morphology, thickness, and inflammation in human coronary plaques
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