In-vivo assessment of microvascular functional dynamics by combination of cmOCT and wavelet transform

Salvatore Smirni, Michael P. MacDonald, Catherine P. Robertson, Paul M. McNamara, Sean O'Gorman, Martin J. Leahy, Faisel Khan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)
264 Downloads (Pure)


The cutaneous microcirculation represents an index of the health status of the cardiovascular system. Conventional methods to evaluate skin microvascular function are based on measuring blood flow by laser Doppler in combination with reactive tests such as post-occlusive reactive hyperaemia (PORH). Moreover, the spectral analysis of blood flow signals by continuous wavelet transform (CWT) reveals nonlinear oscillations reflecting the functionality of microvascular biological factors, e.g. endothelial cells (ECs). Correlation mapping optical coherence tomography (cmOCT) has been previously described as an efficient methodology for the morphological visualisation of cutaneous micro-vessels. Here, we show that cmOCT flow maps can also provide information on the functional components of the microcirculation. A spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging system was used to acquire 90 sequential 3D OCT volumes from the forearm of a volunteer, while challenging the micro-vessels with a PORH test. The volumes were sampled in a temporal window of 25 minutes, and were processed by cmOCT to obtain flow maps at different tissue depths. The images clearly show changes of flow in response to the applied stimulus. Furthermore, a blood flow signal was reconstructed from cmOCT maps intensities to investigate the microvascular nonlinear dynamics by CWT. The analysis revealed oscillations changing in response to PORH, associated with the activity of ECs and the sympathetic innervation. The results demonstrate that cmOCT may be potentially used as diagnostic tool for the assessment of microvascular function, with the advantage of also providing spatial resolution and structural information compared to the traditional laser Doppler techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDynamics and Fluctuations in Biomedical Photonics XV
EditorsValery V. Tuchin, Kirill V. Larin, Martin J. Leahy, Ruikang K. Wang
Place of PublicationWashington
PublisherSPIE-International Society for Optical Engineering
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781510614727
ISBN (Print)9781510614710
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2018
EventDynamics and Fluctuations in Biomedical Photonics XV 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 28 Jan 201829 Jan 2018


ConferenceDynamics and Fluctuations in Biomedical Photonics XV 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • cardiovascular risk
  • cmOCT
  • continuous wavelet transform
  • microcirculation imaging
  • nonlinear dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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