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The conduction system of the heart is a specific muscular tissue, where a heartbeat signal originates and initiates the depolarization of the ventricles. The muscular origin makes it complicated to distinguish the conduction system from the surrounding tissues. A surgical intervention can lead to the accidental harm of the conduction system, which may eventually result in a dangerous obstruction of the heart functionality. Therefore, there is an immense necessity for developing a helpful method to visualize the conduction system during the operation time. The specimens for the spectroscopic studies were taken from nine diverse human hearts. The localization of distinct types of the tissue was preliminary marked by the pathologist and approved histologically after the spectral measurements. Variations in intensity, as well as in shape, were detected in autofluorescence spectra of different heart tissues. The most distinct differences were observed between the heart conduction system and the surrounding tissues under 330 and 380 nm excitation. The spectral region around 460 nm appeared to be the most suitable for an unambiguous differentiation of the human conduction system avoiding the absorption peak of blood. The visualization method, based on the intensity ratios calculated for two excitation wavelengths, was also demonstrated.


Jonas Venius, Saulius Bagdonas, Edvardas Zurauskas, Ricardas Rotomskis. Visualization of human heart conduction system by means of fluorescence spectroscopy. Journal of biomedical optics. 2011 Oct;16(10):107001

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PMID: 22029363

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