Most Popular Angioplasty Web Site

Coronary Artery DiseaseThe Cath LabFrom Diagnosis to InterventionBalloons & Stents
AtherectomyRestenosisAngiogenesisIntravascular Ultrasound

Intravascular Ultrasound
The following article provides a brief description of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).

In-Depth For more in-depth information, late-breaking articles and interviews with cardiologists who are using intravascular ultrasound to improve patient care, visit our special Intravascular Guidance Center.


Angioplasty.Org Image

intravascular ultrasound image
intravascular ultrasound image, courtesy Volcano Corporation

For many years the only way of directly viewing the coronary arteries was through angiography, or catheterization.

With the invention and refinement of intravascular coronary ultrasound (IVUS) it is became possible to thread a tiny ultrasound "camera" into the coronary arteries to give a valuable cross-sectional view from the inside-out, showing the physician where the normal artery wall ends and the plaque begins.

While it is used in less than 20% of procedures in the United States and Europe, it is utilized in Japan in almost all angioplasty/stent procedures, because it is reimbursed in that country. Although it is an invasive procedure, and there are costs associated with it, IVUS can aid significantly in the selection and sizing of stents and can offer assurance that a stent has been properly deployed. This is of great importance in the era of drug-eluting stents. Research conducted using IVUS has also shown that one of the causes of restenosis and thrombosis may be inadequate dilatation -- physicians, concerned with injuring or dissecting the artery itself because of over-expansion, have tended to undersize the balloons and stents, leading to complications. (See "Can Using Intravascular Ultrasound Prevent Stent Thrombosis")


The Future
These and other new devices are being developed continually and the information gathered through the use of catheter-based interventions may ultimately reveal the true mechanism of plaque formation. As this knowledge is applied in the field of molecular biology, promising new research and drug therapies may provide a way to prevent restenosis and plaque formation from occurring and yield an answer for conquering coronary artery disease.

Back to Page One of "Devices"