Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) and Fractional Flow Reserve Measurements (FFR)
During the cardiac catheterization procedure, contrast material is injected through the catheter and x-ray movies are created as the contrast material moves through the heart’s chambers, valves, and major vessels. This part of the procedure is called a coronary angiogram (or coronary angiography). The digital photographs of the contrast material are used to identify the site of the narrowing or blockage in the coronary artery. Additional imaging procedures, called intra-vascular ultrasound (IVUS) and fractional flow reserve (FFR) may be performed along with cardiac catheterization in some cases to obtain detailed images of the walls of the blood vessels. Both of these imaging procedures are currently available at Platte Valley Medical Center.
With IVUS, a miniature sound-probe (transducer) is positioned on the tip of a coronary catheter. The catheter is threaded through the coronary arteries and, using high-frequency sound waves, produces detailed images of the inside walls of the arteries. IVUS produces an accurate picture of the location and extent of plaque.
With FFR, a special wire is threaded through the artery and a vasodilator medication is given. This test is functionally performing a very high quality stress test for a short segment of the artery (?? This sentence is a little confusing).