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Echocardiography. 1999 Jul;16(5):425-430.

Transvascular Imaging: Feasibility Study Using a Vector Phased Array Ultrasound Catheter.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.



Transvascular imaging is defined as the acquisition of anatomic and functional information of structures lying beyond the confines of a vascular conduit within which the imaging device resides. Interrogating structures surrounding the vascular conduit is the subject of this feasibility study using a novel underblood, phased array ultrasound-tipped catheter.


An intravascular catheter (10-F, 3.2-mm-diameter, four-way articulation) tipped with a 5.5- to 10-MHz frequency agile, vector phased array transducer with full Doppler capability (Sequoia, Acuson) was used. The imaging transducer has a wide range of tissue penetration (2 mm to >10 cm from the lens). The catheter was introduced via an 11-Fr femoral venous sheath into the inferior and superior vena cavae and right heart chambers. As the catheter was advanced, attention was directed to visualization of structures surrounding the vessel in which the catheter resided.


From the cavae and femoral vein the thoracic, abdominal and femoral arteries could be easily imaged. Anatomy that was visualized included the liver, hepatic veins, gallbladder, and mesenteric vessels. Normal and pathological anatomy and Doppler physiology could be readily appreciated. Doppler (i.e., pulsed- and continuous-wave, color flow, and tissue Doppler) fostered unique transvascular physiological hemodynamic and flow assessment.


Transvascular imaging is feasible in human subjects using this 10-Fr catheter tipped with a 5.5- to 10-MHz vector phased array transducer. Intravascular navigation to a desired location within the body and the performance of diagnostic or therapeutic procedures at a remote site under direct ultrasound visualization are possible. Full Doppler capability extends the concept of transvascular hemodynamic and physiological assessment.

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