The present invention is intended as a means of diagnosing the presence of a gas bubble and incorporating the information into a feedback system for opto-acoustic thrombolysis. In opto-acoustic thrombolysis, pulsed laser radiation at ultrasonic frequencies is delivered intraluminally down an optical fiber and directed toward a thrombus or otherwise occluded vessel. Dissolution of the occlusion is therefore mediated through ultrasonic action of propagating pressure or shock waves. A vapor bubble in the fluid surrounding the occlusion may form as a result of laser irradiation. This vapor bubble may be used to directly disrupt the occlusion or as a means of producing a pressure wave. It is desirable to detect the formation and follow the lifetime of the vapor bubble. Knowledge of the bubble formation and lifetime yields critical information as to the maximum size of the bubble, density of the absorbed radiation, and properties of the absorbing material. This information can then be used in a feedback system to alter the irradiation conditions.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.