University of Twente Student Theses


Quantified Photoacoustics for Carotid Artery Imaging

Rietberg, Max (2023) Quantified Photoacoustics for Carotid Artery Imaging.

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Full Text Status:Access to this publication is restricted
Embargo date:6 December 2025
Abstract:Since the very beginning, humanity has asked itself some fundamental questions: who are we? what is our purpose in life? is there life after death? Unable to answer any of these, in this thesis I will introduce and demonstrate a novel method to quantify photoacoustic imaging. Annually, vascular diseases worldwide result in 17.8 million deaths, including ischemic stroke (23\%) caused by unstable thrombogenic atherosclerotic vascular wall lesions in the carotid artery. The decision of intervention for this condition is currently based on the degree of narrowing of the artery (stenosis), while plaque composition and associated vulnerability are more reliable predictors of future stroke events. However, no single imaging modality has been able to accurately identify vulnerable plaques. Recently, photoacoustic imaging has emerged as a promising medical imaging modality due to its ability to combine high light contrast with ultrasonic imaging depth. It offers submillimeter resolution and an imaging depth of several centimetres, which is sufficient for carotid plaque imaging. However, quantifying plaque composition is challenging as it requires knowledge of complex light propagation in tissue. To address this, I will showcase the utilisation of a reference chromophore, such as arterial blood, as a marker for light distribution (fluence) in simulation. In order to do this, I implemented the concept of a reference chromophore into three separate techniques: two baseline methods, and one using a modified version of NIRFAST. The 3 different methods were compared, and the behaviour of the virtual detector method was characterised. Finally, I demonstrated the accuracy of the novel method on a tissue-mimicking phantom. It was found that in their current forms, the techniques with a reference chromophore as a prior do not outperform those without. However, the characterisation of the proposed method shows its potential so that with appropriate modifications it could be used in plaque characterisation.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Subject:44 medicine, 50 technical science in general, 54 computer science
Programme:Biomedical Engineering MSc (66226)
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