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.