What is Volcano Core?
Volcano Core is a precision-guided therapy system for performing intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), a beneficial method of identifying peripheral artery disease, or PAD. With this catheter-based system, your physician can obtain detailed measurements and images of diseased vessels and find plaques (fatty buildup) or blockages within the artery.
Why You Might Need an IVUS
Caused by atherosclerosis, or plaque in the blood vessels and arteries in the arms, legs, and other parts of the body, PAD can lead to dangerous consequences like non-healing sores on the legs or feet that can result in amputation of the limb if not properly treated.
IVUS is used in conjunction with angiography (X-ray imaging of blood vessels using contrast agents injected into the bloodstream through a catheter) to identify the amount of plaque and the degree of blockage within the artery. A vascular surgeon can then perform an atherectomy to remove buildup or an angioplasty to open and repair the diseased vessel.
How IVUS Works
IVUS allows your vascular surgeon to view the diseased artery from the inside out in real time. Your physician will insert a tiny catheter equipped with a miniature transducer (a device that converts energy from one form to another) into the damaged artery over a guide wire and through a small sheath. Using echolocation, the same technology used with a traditional ultrasound, high-frequency soundwaves are emitted by the transducer.
These ultrasound waves bounce off the walls of the artery, and the echo is converted into a picture on a screen that shows the outer covering of the artery, the arterial wall, an inner layer that can change in thickness if plaque is present, and the lumen, which is the open channel of the artery through which blood flows.
The Benefits of IVUS
In the past, angiography was considered the most efficient way to assess and quantify PAD. However, angiography is limited because it cannot collect information about the blood vessel’s wall or plaque within the vessel, making it difficult to determine the severity of the lesion. In fact, studies have shown that angiography-guided stent placement in peripheral vessels resulted in incorrect expansion or positioning in as many as 20-40% of patients.
Now, IVUS can be used in tandem with angiography to provide additional diagnostic information to the vascular surgeon, leading to improved treatment and better outcomes for patients.