An invasive procedure, performed along with cardiac catheterization; a miniature sound probe (transducer) on the tip of a coronary catheter is threaded through the coronary arteries and, using high-frequency sound waves, produces detailed images of the interior walls of the arteries. Where angiography shows a two-dimensional silhouette of the interior of the coronary arteries, IVUS shows a cross-section of both the interior, and the layers of the artery wall itself.

Your doctor uses IVUS to:

  • View the artery from the inside out, making it possible to evaluate the amount of disease present, how it is distributed, and in some cases, what it is made of
  • Determine the need for further treatment (angioplasty or bypass surgery)
  • Determine the need for aggressive management of risk factors prior to onset of symptoms and advanced disease
  • Determine the predictors of transplant coronary artery disease

IVUS has played a role in important research studies looking at internal changes to the artery – such as evaluating the role of vulnerable plaque and the impact of cholesterol lowering medications on regression.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/07/2018.

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