Fourier-transform (FT)-Raman spectroscopy has been used for identification and evaluation of human artherosclerotic lesions, providing biochemical information on arteries. In this work, fragments of human carotid arteries postmortem were analyzed using a FT-Raman spectrometer operating at an excitation wavelength of 1064 nm, power of 200 mW, and spectral resolution of A total of 75 carotid fragments were spectroscopically scanned and FT-Raman results were compared with histopathology. Discriminant analysis using Mahalanobis distance was applied over principal components scores for tissue classification into three categories: nonatherosclerotic, atherosclerotic plaque without calcification and with calcification. Nonatherosclerotic artery, atherosclerotic plaque, and calcified plaque exhibit spectral signatures related to biochemicals presented in each tissue type, such as bands of collagen and elastin (proteins), cholesterol and its esters, and calcium hydroxyapatite and carbonate apatite, respectively. Spectra of nonatherosclerotic artery were then classified into two groups: normal and discrete diffuse thickening of the intima layer (first group) and moderate and intense diffuse thickening of the intima layer (second group). FT-Raman could identify and classify the tissues found in the atherosclerotic process in human carotid in vitro and had the ability to identify alterations to the diffuse thickening of the intima layer and classify it depending on the intensity of the thickening. © 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.