Imaging of pulmonary vascular disease by intravascular ultrasound

Int J Card Imaging. 1993 Sep;9(3):179-84. doi: 10.1007/BF01145319.


To assess the ability of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to image changes in the pulmonary arterial wall associated with pulmonary hypertension (PHT), 10 subjects requiring diagnostic right and left heart catheterization were studied. In addition to measurements of pulmonary artery pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance and pulmonary angiography, when indicated, all underwent simultaneous IVUS imaging in the pulmonary arterial system using a 20 MHz ultrasound transducer mounted on a 2 mm diameter catheter. Four patients had normal pulmonary artery pressures and 6 had varying degrees of PHT. Satisfactory ultrasound images were obtained in 9 out of the 10 patients. In those with normal pulmonary artery pressures ultrasound showed a thin vessel wall with no distinction between separate layers. In patients with systemic PHT, a three-layered vessel wall was apparent and areas compatible with intimal proliferation were seen. In a patient with pulmonary embolic disease areas consistent with mural thrombus were detected at sites of luminal narrowing on the pulmonary angiogram. IVUS is capable of imaging some of the morphological changes in the wall of the pulmonary artery known to occur in longstanding PHT and may therefore become a useful adjunct to haemodynamic measurements and pulmonary angiography for the in vivo assessment of pulmonary vascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*
  • Vascular Resistance