Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) | MedStar Health

What to expect during an intravascular ultrasound?

Your doctor may ask that you not eat or drink before the IVUS procedure. If you are currently on any medications, ask your doctor if you should take them the day of the procedure.

You will wear a hospital gown and will need to lie still on an examining table. An IV will be inserted in your hand or arm to give you mild sedative, which will help you relax. We’ll numb an area in the arm or the groin, and we may need to shave that area. This is where we’ll make a small incision and insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter.

We’ll guide the catheter through your vessels using an X-ray. When the catheter has reached the section of the vessel that we need to examine, the ultrasound probe at the end of the catheter will record images of the vessel.

After the ultrasound images are complete, we’ll remove the catheter. You likely won’t need sutures, but we’ll need to apply pressure to the incision site to stop the bleeding. We’ll take you to the recovery area for monitoring while you lie flat until the sedation wears off.

Your doctor may recommend that you stay in the hospital following the exam. If you are not admitted, you will be able to return home on the day of the ultrasound, but you’ll need someone to drive you. You may experience some bruising where the catheter was inserted.

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We have one of the highest volume heart catheterization programs in the mid-Atlantic region, averaging nearly 12,000 procedures annually.

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