Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Endomyocardial biopsy catheter incorporating optical coherence tomography guidance

Technology #cu14120

Endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) is widely used to monitor and diagnose heart disease and dysfunction. Currently, EMB is performed with minimal visualization of the myocardium that is sampled. This reduces operator precision, often requiring multiple biopsies that can cause scarring. This technology proposes an improvement to EMB catheter design by incorporating optical coherence tomographic (OCT) imaging. This technology allows the operator to visualize the myocardium and biopsy location with OCT, which improves specificity of the EMB, decreases the need for multiple biopsies, and improves diagnostic yield.

OCT-assisted EMB improves biopsy yields and provides improved patient safety

Current EMB technology is performed without any visualization of the myocardium. This “blind” biopsy method results in low diagnostic yield. This technology proposes an EMB catheter design and diagnostic system using optical coherence tomographic imaging so that practitioners can guide the bioptome catheter to ideal biopsy sites. As a result, EMB with OCT-guidance reduces the number and length of procedures for patients. The system described in this technology includes: 1) an OCT system engine that may have polarization sensitive capabilities and a broad bandwidth for high resolution, 2) a catheter with a forward-facing OCT fiber optic and bioptome, and 3) a set of backend algorithms for real-time processing of OCT images for diagnostic utility.

A prototype of the technology has been tested in vivo in humans and has been shown to be highly sensitive. Specific diagnostic algorithms for identifying myocardial disease are currently being refined using OCT imaging data of human myocardial tissue.

Lead Inventor:

Christine Fleming, Ph.D.


  • Real-time OCT imaging during the biopsy procedure, allowing the operator to have a pretest probability of diagnosis before performing a risky biopsy and tissue extraction
  • OCT-guided biopsy of organs other than the heart (GI, liver, lungs)
  • Minimally invasive diagnostics (OCT imaging diagnostics with no biopsy)
  • OCT bio-metric security devices
  • Utility in tissue engineering applications to further determine the growth state of tissue cultures
  • Diagnostic imaging device for myocardial diseases


  • Improves quality of sample biopsy
  • Improves health professional user input and biopsy selection
  • Reduces the number of biopsy samples and procedures

Patent information:

Patent Pending

Tech Ventures Reference: IR CU14120, CU14027

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