Seeing the invisible: Revealing atrial ablation lesions using hyperspectral imaging approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date











© 2016 Muselimyan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background: Currently, there are limited means for high-resolution monitoring of tissue injury during radiofrequency ablation procedures. Objective: To develop the next generation of visualization catheters that can reveal irreversible atrial muscle damage caused by ablation and identify viability gaps between the lesions. Methods: Radiofrequency lesions were placed on the endocardial surfaces of excised human and bovine atria and left ventricles of blood perfused rat hearts. Tissue was illuminated with 365nm light and a series of images were acquired from individual spectral bands within 420- 720nm range. By extracting spectral profiles of individual pixels and spectral unmixing, the relative contribution of ablated and unablated spectra to each pixel was then displayed. Results of spectral unmixing were compared to lesion pathology. Results: RF ablation caused significant changes in the tissue autofluorescence profile. The magnitude of these spectral changes in human left atrium was relatively small (> 10% of peak fluorescence value), yet highly significant. Spectral unmixing of hyperspectral datasets enabled high spatial resolution, in-situ delineation of radiofrequency lesion boundaries without the need for exogenous markers. Lesion dimensions derived from hyperspectral imaging approach strongly correlated with histological outcomes. Presence of blood within the myocardium decreased the amplitude of the autofluorescence spectra while having minimal effect on their overall shapes. As a result, the ability of hyperspectral imaging to delineate ablation lesions in vivo was not affected. Conclusions: Hyperspectral imaging greatly increases the contrast between ablated and unablated tissue enabling visualization of viability gaps at clinically relevant locations. Data supports the possibility for developing percutaneous hyperspectral catheters for high-resolution ablation guidance.