OCT Imaging

Mass General Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are spearheading an international effort to study optical coherence tomography (OCT), an imaging technology that could help doctors identify the vulnerable coronary plaques that cause heart attacks or sudden cardiac death.


Researchers at Mass General are leading the first optical coherence tomography (OCT) registry, an international database of 3,000 patients who have received OCT. Optical coherence tomography is an intravascular imaging technique that may help physicians identify the vulnerable plaques that lead to heart attacks or sudden cardiac death.

To build the OCT registry, we are partnering with 20 prominent institutions internationally. Using information gathered from the registry, it is our goal to provide knowledge that will help doctors prevent heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. We are also evaluating the possibility of using OCT to prevent late catastrophic complications of stenting.

Why OCT Imaging

By creating extremely high-resolution images from within the artery, OCT can pinpoint the microscopic characteristics of a vulnerable plaque, as opposed to intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), which is more widely used, but has a lower resolution. Currently OCT is the only intravascular imaging technique with the resolution sufficient (approximately 10 µm) to delineate fine structures, such as thin fibrous caps and to characterize plaque types, such as lipid rich plaque. We have also discovered that OCT can detect subtle structural changes after PCI, such as plaque disruption including tissue prolapse and protrusion with high sensitivity.

The Mass General Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory are pioneers in the use of optical coherence tomography to view coronary arteries at an unprecedented level. Over the past two decades, we have led the way in using this technology by:

  • 1999: Establishing the Mass General Cardiac OCT Research Laboratory
  • 2002: Publishing first in man study using OCT
  • 2005: Publishing the first study on in vivo characterization of plaques in patients with different clinical presentation
  • 2006: Establishing the first international cardiac OCT registry by collaborating with researchers from Korea, Japan and China
  • 2010: Hosting the first international OCT symposium that brought together the world's thought leaders in OCT imaging
  • 2016: Publishing the EROSION Study, which may lead to a major shift in the management of patients with acute coronary syndromes
  • 2016: Establishing a new OCT research network with investigators from the United States, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia

Group Members

The OCT Team

The Massachusetts General Hospital Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Registry is led by a team of world class researchers who have devoted their careers to pioneering OCT imaging. Meet the team behind the OCT registry, including:


Ik-Kyung Jang

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD

Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Cardiology Laboratory for Integrative Physiology and Imaging (CLIPI) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Jang came to Massachusetts General Hospital in 1987 from Leuven University in Belgium, where he has completed his residency in medicine and fellowship in cardiology. He also successfully defended his doctorate thesis at the same university. After his advanced fellowship in cardiology at Mass General, he joined the staff and is currently working as a physician and an interventional cardiologist in the Cardiology Division.

His research interest has been acute coronary syndromes including acute myocardial infarction. His earlier research focused on pharmacology and physiology of thrombosis and thrombolysis including thrombin hypothesis and platelet inhibition. For the last twelve years he has pioneered the application of intravascular Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to patients to better characterize coronary plaques and to understand the mechanisms of plaque rupture. Dr. Jang was the first to perform intravascular OCT procedure in a patient. In addition, he was the principal investigator for the recent US multicenter OCT trial. Dr. Jang has been invited to lectures at numerous national and international meetings. His publications number more than 200.


Hang Lee

Hang Lee, PhD

Hang Lee, PhD, is the study statistician of the OCT Registry. He is the lead statistician for the Harvard Catalyst Biostatistics Program at Mass General and the Mass General Division of Clinical Research Biostatistics Unit, and he serves as the primary statistician for the Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center. Dr. Lee is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and has experience in a wide range of collaborative research. He is also the statistical editor for the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography (JASE). His statistical expertise is in longitudinal data, statistical genetics, clinical trials design and complex data analysis, and he has authored and co-authored over 250 clinical study articles.


Erika Yamamoto

Erika Yamamoto, MD, PhD

Erika Yamamoto, MD, PhD, is a research fellow who joined our lab from Kyoto University in Japan. Dr. Yamamoto received her MD in 2006 and PhD in cardiovascular medicine in 2015. Now she is working on investigating the association between plaque erosion and endothelial shear stress and clinical predictors of plaque erosion.


Tomoyo Sugiyama

Tomoyo Sugiyama, MD, PhD

Tomoyo Sugiyama, MD, PhD is a research fellow who came from Tokyo Medical and Dental University to work with Dr. Jang. Before she joined our group, she was working as a staff interventional cardiologist in Japan. Her main research interest is clarifying the underlying mechanisms of calcified plaque as an underlying pathology for acute coronary syndromes.


Francesco Fracassi, MD

Francesco Fracassi, MD

Francesco Fracassi, MD, is a research fellow from the Catholic University of Rome. He completed his Cardiology training at the Catholic University teaching hospital Policlinico “Agostino Gemelli” in Rome in July 2017 and came to Massachusetts General Hospital in September 2017. He mainly focuses on investigating the mechanism of plaque healing and the clinical significance of acute coronary syndrome and mechanisms of plaque progression.


Greg Gheewalla, BS

Greg Gheewalla, BS

Greg Gheewalla received his BS in Biochemistry from Tufts University in 2018. In 2017, he joined the Cardiovascular Research Center to work under Dr. Ik-Kyung Jang as clinical research coordinator. As the clinical research coordinator and data manager, Greg communicates with sites around the world and manages the data received through the registry.


Osamu Kurihara, MD, PhD

Osamu Kurihara, MD, PhD

Osamu Kurihara, MD, PhD, came from Nippon Medical School in Japan. Dr. Kurihara received his MD in 2007 and has been working at Nippon Medical School Chiba Hokusoh Hospital as a staff interventional cardiologist. His focus is plaque characteristics and metabolic disorders.


Hyung Oh Kim, MD

Hyung Oh Kim, MD

Hyung Oh Kim, MD, came from Kyung Hee Medical Center in South Korea in August 2018. Dr. Kim finished his clinical training in cardiology. His current research interest is endothelial shear stress and computational fluid dynamics using optical coherence tomography.


Vikas Thondapu, MD

Vikas Thondapu, MD

Vikas Thondapu, MD received his MD from Drexel University in 2010, he completed residency in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital. His PhD research in biomedical engineering, undertaken at the University of Melbourne, Australia, used a combination of optical coherence tomography and computational fluid dynamics to investigate novel indices of blood flow disturbances as markers of coronary atherosclerosis and complications after stent implantation. He joined our group in September 2018. His research focus is endothelial shear stress and plaque characteristics.


Michele Russo, MD

Michele Russo, MD

Michele Russo, MD received his MD in July 2014 from the University “Gabriele D’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara (Italy). He has been in training at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart - Policlinico “Agostino Gemelli” - in Rome (Italy) since November 2015. He joined our group in September 2018. His research focus is the relationship and clinical significance of plaque healing in non-culprit regions.


Former Fellows

  • Hiroshi Yabushita (2001 – 2002) – Cardiologist in Osaka, Japan
  • Masamichi Takano (2002 – 2005) – Associate Professor of Medicine Nippon Medical School, Japan
  • Owen Christopher Raffel (2005 – 2008) – Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Queensland, Australia
  • Joo Heung Yoon (2009 – 2011) – Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Pittsburgh
  • Luca DiVito (2009 – 2011) – Cardiologist in Ascoli Piceno, Italy
  • Soo-Joong Kim (2011 – 2012) – Professor of Medicine Kyung Hee University, Korea
  • Taishi Yonetsu (2011 – 2013) – Associate Professor of Medicine Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan
  • Koji Kato (2011 – 2013) – Cardiologist in Tokyo, Japan
  • Farhad Abtahian (2012 – 2013) – Cardiologist in Rochester, New York
  • Jinwei Tian (2012 – 2014) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Sining Hu (2012 – 2015) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Haibo Jia (2012 – 2015) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Rocco Vergallo (2012 – 2015) – Cardiology Fellow Catholic University, Italy
  • Tsunenari Soeda (2013 – 2015) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Nara Medical University, Japan
  • Yoshiyasu Minami (2013 – 2016) - Associate Professor of Medicine Kitasato University, Japan
  • Young-Seok Cho (2014) – Professor of Medicine Seoul National University, Korea
  • Kai-Hung Cheng (2014 – 2015) – Associate Professor of Medicine Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan
  • Lei Gao (2014 –2015) – Staff Cardiologist at 301 Hospital, China
  • Daniel Ong (2014 – 2015) – Cardiologist in Dallas, Texas
  • Takumi Higuma (2015 – 2016) – Associate Professor of Medicine St. Marianna University, Japan
  • Lei Xing (2015 – 2017) – Associate Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Jiannan Dai (2016) – Assistant Professor of Medicine Harbin University, China
  • Krzysztof Bryniarski (2016 – 2017) – Fellow Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Thomas Zanchin (2016 – 2017) – Fellow University of Bern, Switzerland

Collaborating Institutions

To build the registry, we have partnered with researchers at world class academic medical centers, such as:

CountryhospitalPrincipal Investigator
Concord Repatriation General Hospital Dr. Harry Lowe
University of Melbourne Dr. Peter Barlis
Prince Charles Hospital Dr. Owen Christopher Raffel
Belgium University of Leuven Dr. Tom Adriaenssens
Germany University of Giessen Dr. Holger Nef
Japan Nippon Medical School Dr. Masamichi Takano
Japan St. Marianna University Dr. Takumi Higuma
Japan Kameda Medical Center Dr. Shigeki Kimura
Japan Kitasato University Dr. Yoshiyasu Minami
Japan Nara Medical University Dr. Tsunenari Soeda
Japan Tsuchiura Kyodo General Hospital Dr. Tsunekazu Kakuta
Korea Asan Medical Center Dr. Seung-Jung Park
Korea Kyung Hee University Hospital Dr. Chong-Jin Kim
Korea Yonsei University Dr. Yangsoo Jang
Singapore National Heart Centre Dr. Jack Wei Chieh Tan
USA Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Ik-Kyung Jang
USA Mayo Clinic Dr. Amir Lerman
USA University of Pittsburgh Dr. Catalin Toma
USA University of Vermont Dr. Harold Dauerman



Contact Us

Massachusetts General Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Registry

GRB8-81355 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114

Contact Greg Gheewalla, BS, OCT Data Manager, for more information about the registry or to learn how to participate in this research initiative.

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