Hopkins Researchers Prove Feasibility of Using Light and Sound for Medical Imaging

In the first research of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers provide proof that an alternative imaging method could sometime replace present methods that require potentially dangerous radiation.

Hopkins Researchers Prove Feasibility of Using Light and Sound for Medical Imaging

The findings, featured in the April issue of IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging, detail success in a heart process, however, can probably be applied to any procedure that makes use of a catheter, such as in vitro fertilization, or surgical procedures utilizing the da Vinci robot, where clinicians need a clearer view of large vessels.

Bell’s crew of PULSE Lab members and cardiologist collaborators tested the technology during a cardiac intervention, a process in which a protracted, thin tube known as a catheter is penetrated into a vein or artery, then pushed up to the heart to diagnose and treat numerous heart illnesses such as irregular heartbeats. Doctors currently mostly use a method called fluoroscopy, a form of X-ray film, that may solely show the shadow of where the catheter end is and doesn’t present detailed details about depth.

Moreover, Bell adds, this present visualization technology requires ionizing radiation, which could be dangerous to the patient as well as the doctor.

Photoacoustic imaging, merely explained, is the usage of light and sound to produce images. When energy through a pulsed laser lights up a part in the body, that light is soaked by photo absorbers in the tissue, such as the protein that carries oxygen in the blood (hemoglobin), which leads to a small temperature rise.

This increase in temperature creates speedy heat expansion, which creates a sound wave. The sound wave can be received by an ultrasound probe and structured into an image.