Intravascular Ultrasound
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For decades the only way of directly viewing the coronary arteries was through angiography. As discussed in the section on Cardiac Catheterization, a coronary angiogram is a shadow view of the coronary arteries that serves a dual purpose: diagnosis and treatment -- the continuous fluoroscopic TV image allows the interventional cardiologist to monitor the various wires, balloons and stents, as they are advanced towards the blockages.

But what if a tiny camera could be mounted on the front of the catheter as it is snaked up the aorta and into the left or right coronary artery? We could see a cross-sectional view of the blockage. Enter IVUS, or intravascular ultrasound. With the invention and refinement of IVUS, it is now possible to thread a miniaturized ultrasound transducer or "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.

IVUS Image
intravascular ultrasound image,
courtesy Volcano Corporation

Intravascular Ultrasound Center     Intravascular ultrasound and related technologies have implications for the treatment of patients, from determining whether or not to do an angioplasty, to ensuring that a stent, if placed, is sized correctly and placed optimally. For more information, the latest news, features and interviews with leading physicians, visit our Intravascular Ultrasound Center.

Who Does the Procedure: Intravascular Ultrasound is done during an angioplasty by an interventional cardiologist in the catheterization laboratory with the cath lab team.

Patient Preparation: Since IVUS is seldom performed as a stand-alone imaging procedure, but as part of the angioplasty/stent procedure, no additional preparation is needed: the preparation is the same as for a Cardiac Catheterization.

Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG)

Chest X-ray

Exercise Stress Test with
Echocardiography (Ultrasound)

Nuclear Stress Test (Thallium or Technetium)

MultiSlice Computed Tomography and
CT Angiogram (CTA)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Angiography (MRI and MRA)

Cardiac Catheterization

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)

** photo courtesy of Toshiba America Medical Systems

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