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Intravascular ultrasonic imaging


Because conventional imaging methods are inadequate for evaluating human coronary arteries in vivo, an intravascular ultrasonic imaging catheter was developed that allows the arterial wall to be studied in cross-section from within the artery. The catheter incorporates a mechanically rotating 20-MHz transducer, which is designed so that the ringdown occurs within the catheter and imaging is permitted up to the catheter's surface. The device rotates at 1800-rpm within a plastic sleeve and provides real-time cross-sectional images at 30 frames/sec. Preliminary experimental and clinical studies indicate that the intravascular ultrasonic imaging catheter could play a valuable role in providing preoperative information concerning arterial wall thickness and tissue characteristics, in distinguishing normal from diseased arterial wall structures during therapeutic intervention, and in assessing the results of intervention.

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