Background: Motion of the intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) probe within the coronary artery from cardiac contraction may result in artifacts during 3-dimensional ultrasound image reconstruction and inaccurate measurements of coronary compliance. The purpose of this study was to establish whether longitudinal movement of the IVUS transducer in the coronary artery occurs and to quantify such motion.
Methods: In 31 patients we positioned IVUS transducers at 59 coronary branch points: 41 in the left anterior descending coronary artery, 11 in the left circumflex coronary artery, and 7 in the right coronary artery. In each image sequence the branching vessel oscillated in and out of the imaging plane during the cardiac cycle, confirming longitudinal transducer movement. The extent of movement was estimated by IVUS from the dimension of the branch vessel traversed. In addition, angiographic visualization and measurement of IVUS probe motion was performed at 17 branch points in 12 patients.
Results: Average longitudinal transducer movement as measured by IVUS was 1.50 +/- 0.80 mm (n = 46, range 0.5 to 5.5 mm). Because IVUS could not account for probe motion that exceeded the vessel branch diameter, the values obtained represent minimum movement. Average probe motion as assessed by cineangiography in a subset of 12 patients was 2.43 +/- 1.42 mm (range 0.57 to 6.56 mm).
Conclusions: This study establishes that longitudinal movement of IVUS transducers within coronary vessels occurs during the cardiac cycle. Because documented extent of motion may be sufficient to influence analysis, IVUS images are best obtained with electrocardiographic gating.