Heart Health

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)

What is an Intravascular Ultrasound?

Intravascular ultrasound, or IVUS, is a catheter-based diagnostic procedure used to examine the inside of a coronary artery. By providing a detailed view, IVUS makes it possible to assess the disease present in an artery and determine its distribution. While the procedure is similar to an angiography, IVUS offers a cross-sectional view of both the interior and the artery wall layers.

What happens during an Intravascular Ultrasound?

During the procedure, your doctor will numb the point-of-entry of the catheter with a local anesthetic. This is typically located on the arm or the groin. Using live X-ray technology, the guide wire is then inserted into the catheter and threaded through the arterial system, with the ultrasound probe attached. This continues  until it reaches the area to be studied. Sound waves are then emitted from the probe. The echo imaging that returns to the probe is transferred to a computer to be analyzed.  After the catheter is removed, patients must lie flat for two to six hours.

What are the risks of an Intravascular Ultrasound?

If performed by an experienced health care team, like those available at Baptist Health, intravascular ultrasound imaging is relatively safe. However, there are risks associated with the anesthesia and procedure including:

  • Adverse medication reactions
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe or abnormal bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infection at the incision site

Other risks associated with having IVUS imaging include:

  • Potential damage to a blood vessel or heart valve
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart Attack

To learn more about intravascular ultrasound technology, request an appointment with one of our experts today!