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Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)

Invasive Tests

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)

• Introduction

Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is an imaging technique in which a miniaturized ultrasound transducer and rotational mirror are mounted on the tip of a catheter and inserted directly into an artery or vein to produce two-dimensional tomographic images or three dimensional computer-enhanced reconstructions of planar IVUS images. Intravascular ultrasound is intended to image the arterial wall in addition to the internal lining of coronary and non-coronary vessels prior to, during, and following procedures, including but not limited to angioplasty, atherectomy, or placement of a stent. The images allow physicians to plainly visualize tears, precisely determine the size and shape of a plaque buildup or blood clot, or evaluate the effectiveness of an angioplasty.  

• Picture of IVUS System

• How Does Ultrasound Work?

The image you see in a looking glass is the result of light waves reflected back to you by the mirror. Ultrasound works in much the same way. Sound waves produced by a miniature transducer housed in a catheter are reflected back by blood and tissue from inside the artery wall.

The sound waves the transducer "sees" are affected by the density of the structures they reflect much like the image in your mirror is affected by the lighting available. Structures like blood, tissue and even disease such as calcium and plaque reflect differently because of their density. A computer translates this sound information into black and white images that can be displayed on a television monitor and recorded on videotape. Your cardiologist has specialized training in interpreting these (grayscale) images and can utilize this information to optimize strategies for your individual profile. Thanks to this new and exciting microtechnology, you and your cardiologist make more informed decisions about available treatment options if necessary.  

• Why Use Intravascular Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging teaches us things about coronary arteries that no other technology can. Angiograms are pictures made by filling arteries with fluid that can be seen by x-ray which provide information about the inside fluid path of arteries. While angiography continues to be the "Gold Standard" for coronary imaging, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the anatomy within the wall of the artery itself. This information will enable us to understand more about narrowing and plaque deposits as well as to confirm diagnosis of areas that angiography may not completely describe. This inside view can only by achieved by Intravascular Ultrasound.
When used in combination with angiography, Intravascular Ultrasound allows the most comprehensive understanding of coronary anatomy and plaque deposits available in medicine today.   

• About the Procedure

Ultrasound pictures will be taken during your scheduled cardiac catheterization. The catheter is inserted in the same manner as the angiography catheter (no additional puncture sites) and is advanced into the coronary arteries exactly the same way as an angioplasty balloon.   

• Demonstrating the IVUS catheter coronary

• Showing an IVUS catheter in a artery

• This picture demonstrates an IVUS system, showing a cross sectional and longitudinal cut of the coronary artery.

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