Intravascular ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to see inside the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart.
A tiny ultrasound wand is attached to the top of a tiny, hollow tube called a catheter. This ultrasound catheter is inserted into an artery in your groin area and moved up to the heart.
A computer measures how the sound waves reflect off blood vessels, and changes the sound waves into pictures. IVUS gives the health care provider a look at your coronary arteries from the inside-out.
IVUS is almost always done at the end of angioplasty with stent placement, or coronary catheterization. Angioplasty gives a general look at the coronary arteries, but it cannot show the walls of the arteries. IVUS images show the artery walls and can reveal cholesterol and fat deposits (plaques). Buildup of these deposits can increase your risk of a heart attack.