Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
IVUS is a medical imaging methodology using a specially designed catheter with a miniaturized ultrasound probe attached to the distal end of the catheter. The proximal end of the catheter is attached to computerized ultrasound equipment. It allows the application of ultrasound technology, to see from inside blood vessels out through the surrounding blood column, visualizing the endothelium (inner wall) of blood vessels in living individuals.
- The arteries of the heart (the coronary arteries) are the most frequent imaging target for IVUS.
- IVUS is used in the coronary arteries to determine the amount of atheromatous plaque built up at any particular point in the epicardial coronary artery.
- IVUS is of use to determine both plaque volume within the wall of the artery and/or the degree of stenosis of the artery lumen.
- It can be especially useful in situations in which Angiographic imaging is considered unreliable; such as for the lumen of ostial lesions.