Current intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) catheters provide transverse imaging at the level of the ultrasound transducer. This limits imaging to large-diameter segments without critical atherosclerotic narrowings. We have developed a prototype 20-MHz forward-viewing IVUS catheter that provides two-dimensional sector imaging distal to the catheter tip. A present limitation of this technique is that the catheter must be manually rotated to obtain multiple longitudinal views required to integrate the segment into a three-dimensional matrix. To overcome this, we have developed an algorithm that reconstructs these multiple two-dimensional forward-viewing IVUS images into a three-dimensional matrix for more complete depiction of the segment distal to the ultrasound catheter. This algorithm allows display and multidimensional slicing of the three-dimensional reconstruction.Methods and Results
To test our algorithms, five arterial segments (three canine aortas, two human femoral arteries) were evaluated in vitro. In each segment, 36 forward-viewing longitudinal slices were collected, digitized, processed, and reoriented to produce a three-dimensional reconstruction (3DR) matrix. The matrix data were sliced into parallel transverse sections and compared with morphometric interpretation of histological sections (Histo). As a result, image data could be reconstructed for a distance of 2.0 cm ahead of the catheter. 3DR easily demonstrated wall and luminal morphology and provided transverse IVUS images comparable to the histological specimens. A good correlation was noted between Histo- and 3DR-determined luminal diameters (LD) and luminal areas: 3DR LD=1.4 Histo LD−0.4, r = .86; 3DR LD=0.7±0.20 cm (mean±SD); and Histo LD=0.7±0.13 cm.Conclusions
These preliminary data demonstrate the feasibility of 3DR of forward-viewing IVUS data. This method allows rapid, detailed analysis of diseased arterial segments previously unavailable with standard IVUS and may permit better targeting of interventional techniques.