After 2 decades of development and use in interventional cardiology research, optical coherence tomography (OCT) has now become a core intravascular imaging modality in clinical practice. Its unprecedented spatial resolution allows visualization of the key components of the atherosclerotic plaque that appear to confer "vulnerability" to rupture - namely the thickness of the fibrous cap, size of the necrotic core, and the presence of macrophages. The utility of OCT in the evaluation of plaque composition can provide insights into the pathophysiology of acute coronary syndrome and the healing that occurs thereafter. A brief summary of the principles of OCT technology and a comparison with other intravascular imaging modalities is presented. The review focuses on the current evidence for the use of OCT in identifying vulnerable plaques in acute coronary syndrome and its limitations.
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