3D Cardiac microvessels embolization imaging based on X-ray phase contrast imaging
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- BioMedical Engineering OnLine
DOI 10.1186/1475-925X-13-62
  1. X-ray phase contrast imaging (XPCI)
  2. Microvessel embolization imaging
  3. Myocardial infarction (MI)


The treatment of microcirculatory impairment will have great impact if it can be applied to myocardial infarction (MI) patients. The problem is how to study these tiny structures and microphenomenon in heart.


We investigated the visualization of cardiac microvessels embolization by the mean of X-ray phase contrast imaging (XPCI), which is a recently emerged imaging technique. Using the information of X-ray phase shift, it is sensitive to weak absorbing materials. Two MI SD rats were used as the microvessel embolization samples. MI was surgically induced by ligating left anterior descending artery. Imaging was performed 24 hours post-infarct, with barium sulfate as contrast agent.


The coronary arteries were visualized with smooth walls and clear edges. The ligated vessels, with the diameter of about three hundred microns, can be clearly distinguished and there were no distal blood flow downstream from these branches. The results indicate that phase contrast imaging can directly demonstrate the distribution of microvessels, and estimate the area of MI. The infarct location was in good agreement with pathological analyses of the models.


The advantage of our method is directly observing and evaluating microvessel embolization which simplifies the procedure of diagnoses. Moreover, it is helpful for predicting the prognosis in MI and judging if angiogenesis happens.