Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre introduced an advanced Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system for cardiac imaging which is fully integrated with the hospital’s catheterization lab (cath lab). This is the first such system of its kind available in India, offering vastly superior diagnostic capabilities for a variety of heart diseases.


OCT is an advanced imaging technique that uses a catheter equipped with infrared light to acquire 3D colour images of the insides of blood vessels of the heart. It produces the highest imaging resolution for viewing the heart, which is 10 times higher than ultrasound. OCT is much superior in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease compared to coronary angiography which takes images only in 2D, making it difficult to assess the severity of lesion and plaque burden. OCT also ensures much higher success in coronary stenting.


The reason for heart attacks is the fat which gets deposited in the blood vessel (artery) and finally obstructs the normal flow of blood to the muscles of the heart. When a critical limitation of flow occurs, the patient starts experiencing chest pain or angina. To detect the extent of the block, standard practice is to go for a coronary angiogram.

The primary aim of OCT is to optimize the angioplasty procedure, that is, whether the stenting done by the cardiologist has been done effectively so that long-term results are good. This visualizes the blocked segment clearly and gives an idea about the nature of the fat deposited in the artery. It identifies the exact extent of the fat deposited, thereby helping in total coverage of the diseased length with the stent. With OCT-guided stenting, there are no chances of any error to miss out the diseased portion.

The infrared light used in OCT helps better penetration and visualization of the calcium so that even superficial calcium components of 1.0 to 3.0 mm can be diagnosed. These calcium deposits can be removed by various techniques so that the stent that is deployed gets better opposition to the wall of the artery. If a stent is not well opposed to the arterial wall, there are chances that the stent may get clotted or get closed early. OCT helps to select the ‘right size’ of the stent based on the ‘right size’ of the artery.”