HealthDay News — A miniaturized optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging needle can detect blood vessels intraoperatively in the human brain in vivo, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Science Advances.

Hari Ramakonar, M.B.B.S., from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, Australia, and colleagues developed an imaging needle that is able to visualize blood vessels in real time. A miniaturized OCT probe was integrated into a standard clinical brain biopsy needle, with the aim of differentiation of blood flow and tissue. The system displayed the OCT image overlaid with the local measurements of flow providing near real-time feedback of vessel detection.

The researchers were able to detect blood vessels (diameter >500 µm; 57 vessels and 44 controls) in 11 patients, with sensitivity and specificity of 91.2 and 97.7 percent, respectively. The positive predictive value was 98.1 percent and the negative predictive value was 89.6 percent.

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“This work presents a technique for real-time blood vessel detection integrating with current clinical workflow with >90 percent sensitivity and specificity and sets the stage for further clinical trials to evaluate its safety and efficacy,” the authors write.

Three authors are cofounders and directors of Miniprobes Pty Ltd., which develops novel optical imaging systems. Two authors are inventors on a patent related to this work.

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