Optical imaging of the heart

Igor R. Efimov*, Vladimir P. Nikolski, Guy Salama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

326 Scopus citations


Optical techniques have revolutionized the investigation of cardiac cellular physiology and advanced our understanding of basic mechanisms of electrical activity, calcium homeostasis, and metabolism. Although optical methods are widely accepted and have been at the forefront of scientific discoveries, they have been primarily applied at cellular and subcellular levels and considerably less to whole heart organ physiology. Numerous technical difficulties had to be overcome to dynamically map physiological processes in intact hearts by optical methods. Problems of contraction artifacts, cellular heterogeneities, spatial and temporal resolution, limitations of surface images, depth-of-field, and need for large fields of view (ranging from 2×2 mm2 to 3×3 cm2) have all led to the development of new devices and optical probes to monitor physiological parameters in intact hearts. This review aims to provide a critical overview of current approaches, their contributions to the field of cardiac electrophysiology, and future directions of various optical imaging modalities as applied to cardiac physiology at organ and tissue levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalCirculation research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 9 2004


  • Arrhythmia
  • Defibrillation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Fluorescent probes
  • Optical mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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