Ultrasound technology can be used to evaluate your heart and your arteries. Intravascular ultrasound is an invasive procedure, performed along with cardiac catheterization, to produce detailed images of the interior walls of your arteries. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves.
Sound waves travel through a tube called a catheter that is threaded through your artery and into your heart. The sound waves are transmitted through a device called a transducer which is attached to the end of a catheter. The sound waves bounce off of the walls of the artery and return to the transducer as echoes. The echoes are converted into images on a television monitor to produce a picture of your coronary arteries and other vessels in your body.
Your doctor performs an intravascular ultrasound 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.