Intravascular Ultrasound

Why is the doctor performing this test?

To view the inner lining of the coronary (heart) or peripheral vascular (e.g. lower abdomen, kidneys, arms, legs) arteries. Intravascular Ultrasound allows detailed evaluation of plaque (Atherosclerosis)--its distribution, location, size, effect on blood vessel diameter--that may be lining the inside of your arteries. This information is used to evaluate cardiovascular disease which assists in determining the next step in treatment if needed (i.e. angioplasty or bypass surgery).

What is the test?

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) is an invasive diagnostic test using a catheter with a sound transducer (or sound probe) on the end. It is usually performed in conjunction with Angiography/Catheterization and/or Transcatheter interventions (e.g. PTCA, Stent, etc.) The catheter is threaded thru the artery in the groin to a specific location of the arterial system to further diagnose the extent of disease. High-frequency sound waves are used to create precise images of the inner arterial walls. These images are displayed in streaming video on a monitor. Once the diagnosis is made, the catheter with the ultrasound tip attached is carefully removed, and then pressure is applied over the groin area to stop any bleeding.

Where is the test performed?

In the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

How long does this test take?

Intravascular ultrasound usually takes thirty to sixty minutes.