Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. The disease contributes to heart attack and stroke, which can be debilitating or fatal. Due to advances in medicine doctors and patients have more options for diagnosing heart disease. Diagnostic capabilities aid in early detection of heart disease and stroke which helps physicians plan medical treatments or recommend changes in life style. One tool that’s often used in conjunction with other procedures is intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).
How IVUS Works
Intravascular ultrasound is often done in tandem with other cardiac catheterization procedures. The cardiologist inserts a catheter into the artery that runs through the patient’s groin or arm, and threads it through to the coronary arteries. At the end of the catheter is a special ultrasound wand, called a transducer.
Once the transducer is in place, it emits sound waves. Those waves bounce off the walls of the arteries. A computer converts the sound waves into a picture that illustrates the inside of the artery. The image shows any blockages in the arteries, such as plaque buildup, or where possible onset of coronary disease
IVUS is a minimally invasive procedure, requiring only a small incision in the groin area. It is used in combination with a diagnostic heart cath, and doesn’t lengthen the patient’s hospital stay at all.
Applications of IVUS
IVUS may be used as a diagnostic tool and in combination with an intervention. Cardiologists often use IVUS for the following reasons:
- To decide whether a patient needs angioplasty or bypass surgery
- To evaluate whether a stent is necessary after an angioplasty, and to determine stent placement
- To inspect the aorta and arterial walls for signs of heart disease
- To appropriately size the vessel for stent, balloon, or an aortic aneurysm system.
If you have questions about intravascular ultrasound or heart health, please contact us at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392 for answers to your questions and free physician referrals.