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Lessons from intravascular ultrasonography: observations during interventional angioplasty procedures.


This article reviews many of the applications of intravascular ultrasonic imaging for coronary and peripheral arterial disease. In vitro studies demonstrate an excellent correlation between ultrasound measurements of lumen and plaque cross-sectional area compared with histologic sections. In vivo clinical studies reveal the enhanced diagnostic capabilities of this technology compared with angiography. Ultrasonic imaging also permits visualization of the atherosclerotic plaque itself for the first time in vivo. In addition to accurately describing the plaque morphology, ultrasonography can identify some of the tissue characteristics of the plaque. During interventional procedures, ultrasonic imaging has been shown to be beneficial for enhanced diagnosis as well as improvement of our understanding of the mechanism of newer interventional devices such as directed atherectomy, rotational or TEC atherectomy, or excimer laser. Initial studies suggest that ultrasound guidance of intravascular stent deployment may be critical for optimizing stent placement. Randomized studies are currently in progress to determine whether the guidance provided by intravascular ultrasonic imaging will alter the results of interventional procedures so that the restenosis rate can be improved.

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