Characterizing thrombus with multiple red blood cell compositions by optical coherence tomography attenuation coefficient

Hsiao Chuan Liu, Mehdi Abbasi, Yong Hong Ding, Eric C. Polley, Seán Fitzgerald, Ramanathan Kadirvel, David F. Kallmes, Waleed Brinjikji, Matthew W. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Embolectomy is one of the emergency procedures performed to remove emboli. Assessing the composition of human blood clots is an important diagnostic factor and could provide guidance for an appropriate treatment strategy for interventional physicians. Immunostaining has been used to identity compositions of clots as a gold-standard procedure, but it is time-consuming and cannot be performed in situ. Here, we proposed that the optical attenuation coefficient of optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be a reliable indicator as a new imaging modality to differentiate clot compositions. Fifteen human blood clots with multiple red blood cell (RBC) compositions from 21% to 95% were prepared using healthy human whole blood. A homogeneous gelatin phantom experiment and numerical simulation based on the Lambert–Beer's law were examined to verify the validity of the attenuation coefficient estimation. The results displayed that optical attenuation coefficients were strongly correlated with RBC compositions. We reported that attenuation coefficients could be a promising biomarker to guide the choice of an appropriate interventional device in a clinical setting and assist in characterizing blood clots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202000364
JournalJournal of biophotonics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • biomarker
  • ischemic stroke
  • mechanical thrombectomy
  • optical attenuation coefficient
  • optical coherence tomography
  • thrombus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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