European Radiology

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 2176–2183 | Cite as

Hemispherical photoacoustic imaging of myocardial infarction: in vivo detection and monitoring

  • Jing Lv
  • Ya Peng
  • Shi Li
  • Zhide Guo
  • Qingliang Zhao
  • Xianzhong Zhang
  • Liming Nie



This study aimed to demonstrate the capacity for noninvasive localisation and characterisation of myocardial infarction (MI) in vivo using a hemispherical photoacoustic imaging (PAI) system. MI remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. To enable optimal treatment of patients, timely and accurate diagnosis and longitudinal monitoring is critical.


Ischaemia was induced in Balb/c mice by ligation of the left anterior descending artery. The hemispherical PAI system, equipped with 128 ultrasonic transducers spirally distributed on the surface, along with parallel data acquisition, was applied for imaging of the mouse heart.


Our study showed that hemispherical PAI can delineate thoracic vessels and the morphology of the entire heart. Longitudinal PAI images revealed gradual expansion of the infarcted area along with necrosis and fibrosis, which were quantitatively validated by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. After MI modelling, the photoacoustic (PA) signal intensity decreased by 399.1 ± 56.3 (p < 0.001), a ~2.5-fold reduction compared to that of healthy cardiac tissue. The calculated size of the enlarged heart, 10.4 ± 6.0 mm2 (p < 0.001), represents an increase of ~18% versus that of a healthy heart.


PAI enables MI diagnosis and injury localisation with its capabilities for both deep organ imaging and lesion region differentiation.

Key Points

Photoacoustic imaging (PAI), combining optical absorption and ultrasonic resolution, can delineate cardiac anatomy.

PAI can diagnose myocardial infarction lesions with 10 mm imaging depth in vivo.

Quantified results are in excellent agreement with enzyme and histological examinations.

PAI can serve as a complementary modality to SPECT and ultrasound imaging.

This study will encourage further PAI development for clinical use.


Myocardial infarction Optical imaging Diagnosis Ultrasonography Single-photon emission computed tomography 



Myocardial infarction


Single-photon emission computed tomography






Photoacoustic imaging


Region of interest


Oxygen saturation


Cardiac troponin T


Triphenyltetrazolium chloride


Left ventricular internal diameter diastole


Left ventricular internal diameter systole


Left ventricular ejection fraction


Left ventricular fraction shortening



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (81571744 & 81601489), the National Basic Research Program of China (863 Program 2015AA020502), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (20720170065 & 20720170036), and the Science Foundation of Fujian Province (no. 2014Y2004).

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Liming Nie, PhD.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

Yeda Chen kindly provided statistical advice for this manuscript. No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Ethical approval

Approval from the institutional animal care committee was obtained.


• Prospective

• Experimental

• Performed at one institution

Supplementary material

330_2017_5209_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 2243 kb) (11.4 mb)
ESM 2 (MOV 11657 kb) (10.7 mb)
ESM 3 (MOV 10971 kb)


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Lv
    • 1
  • Ya Peng
    • 1
  • Shi Li
    • 1
  • Zhide Guo
    • 1
  • Qingliang Zhao
    • 1
  • Xianzhong Zhang
    • 1
  • Liming Nie
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Molecular Vaccinology and Molecular Diagnosis & Center for Molecular Imaging and Translational Medicine, School of Public HealthXiamen UniversityXiamenPeople’s Republic of China

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