Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)

Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is a diagnostic test. This test uses sound waves to see inside blood vessels. It is useful for evaluating the coronary arteries that supply the heart.

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What is an Intravascular Ultrasound:

An Intravascular Ultrasound is a form of echocardiography performed during cardiac catheterization.

During this procedure, instead of using a handheld transducer, a special, tiny transducer is threaded into the heart blood vessels via a catheter in the groin.

It is often used to provide detailed information about the atherosclerosis (blockage) inside the blood vessels and can provide a more detailed view than some of the other echo procedures.

Getting an Intravascular Ultrasound:

A tiny ultrasound wand is attached to the top of a thin tube. This tube is called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into an artery in your groin area and moved up to the heart. It is different from conventional Duplex ultrasound. Duplex ultrasound is done from the outside of your body by placing the transducer on the skin.

A computer measures how the sound waves reflect off blood vessels, and changes the sound waves into pictures. IVUS gives the health care provider a look at your coronary arteries from the inside-out. IVUS is almost always done during a procedure. Reasons why it may be done include getting information about the heart or its blood vessels or to find out if you need heart surgery. It can also be used for treating some types of heart conditions.

Angiography gives a general look at the coronary arteries. However, it can't show the walls of the arteries. IVUS images show the artery walls and can reveal cholesterol and fat deposits (plaques). Buildup of these deposits can increase your risk of a heart attack.

IVUS has also helped providers understand how stents become clogged. This is called stent restenosis.

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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.

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