Clinical application of intravascular ultrasound to assess arterial atherosclerotic disease was introduced in humans after extensivein vitro andin vivo animal studies. Real-time images, obtained with a 30 MHz element mounted on a 5 F catheter, consistently confirmed angiographic images, up till now considered to be the gold standard. In addition to these data, ultrasonic cross-sectional imaging provided information on the composition of atheroselectic lesions and the size and shape of the lumen. Based on the experimentally derived criteria for tissue characterization, a better insight into arterial morphology could be obtained, allowing improved planning of interventional or reconstructional procedures. Moreover intravascular ultrasound has proved valuable as a post-interventional procedure to monitor and assess the quality of interventional results. The ultrasound images are clearly superior to angiographic studies, albeit the ultrasonic information is an adjunct to angiography and, as yet, not a substitute. We present our initial experience with intravascular ultrasound obtained in patients with substantial peripheral arterial disease.
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