Intravascular Ultrasound in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency

Tech Vasc Interv Radiol. 2012 Jun;15(2):131-43. doi: 10.1053/j.tvir.2012.02.006.


Multiple imaging modalities have been used for the evaluation of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). These include Doppler ultrasound, magnetic resonance venography, computed tomographic venography, and catheter venography. Although each of these tests is considered to contribute valuable information to the evaluation, each modality has deficiencies, which can impact treatment. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) has a role in this evaluation owing to its ability to accurately assess vessel circumference and cross-sectional area in real time. This can aid in identifying significant stenoses and optimizing balloon sizing during angioplasty. In addition, intraluminal abnormalities that may be difficult to see with venography can be identified with IVUS, which can further determine when angioplasty for CCSVI is indicated. Finally, IVUS can identify potential complications of angioplasty, including dissection and thrombus formation, allowing for rapid treatment. As a result, IVUS is an important part of an evaluation for CCSVI and, when available, should be used to identify patients who may benefit from endovascular treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Veins / surgery*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Spinal Cord / blood supply*
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord / surgery*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery*