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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Intravascular ultrasound imaging: a new method for guiding interventional vascular procedures.

  • Author(s): Tobis, JM
  • Mallery, JA
  • Mahon, D
  • Griffith, J
  • Gessert, J
  • Lehmann, K
  • Henry, WL
  • et al.

A method to assess the degree to which an atheroma plaque has been disrupted by percutaneous interventional methods could be of considerable benefit. An intravascular ultrasound catheter could provide quantitative information about the distribution and quality of the atheroma prior to and following a balloon dilatation, laser, or atherectomy procedure. Additionally, the ultrasound transducer could be configured within an angioplasty balloon to visualize the arterial wall in cross section during the dilatation. Visualization of the atheroma and arterial wall also might be of benefit to help characterize the type of tissue within the plaque, which may potentially help suggest which of several alternative therapies may be most effective. The intravascular imaging catheter would provide a feasible method of identifying normal and diseased arterial wall structures during diagnostic and interventional angiographic procedures. This distinction is critical during laser therapy of eccentric plaques to prevent exposure of the uninvolved wall (Fig. 7). These high quality ultrasound images may allow quantitative assessment of the extent of atheromatous involvement of artery walls as well as the character of the atheroma tissue. Such an approach, performed percutaneously in the catheterization lab, could represent a fundamental departure from traditional angiographic methods for assessing the severity of coronary, carotid, or peripheral arterial disease.

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