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Enhancing the diagnosis of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease, the Volcano system combines intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) imaging and fractional flow reserve (FFR) software for the diagnosis of vessel blockage. IVUS provides detailed views and accurate measurements in real-time to help determine vessel size and plaque area. FFR simultaneously grades the extent of artery blockage by measuring and recording pressure differences and flow restrictions from inside the vessel.
Over time, plaque accumulations can lead to the narrowing of an artery, which reduces blood flow to the heart and eventually may cause a heart attack. IVUS and FFR are catheter-based systems that enable physicians to view images and take readings directly from inside a patient's artery allowing them to precisely determine the location and degree of blockage.
Like a coronary catheter, the Volcano IVUS-FFR system is inserted through an incision in an artery in the groin or wrist and carefully guided through the blood vessels to the heart and coronary arteries, which are then viewed and measured from within. This differs from coronary angiography, a procedure in which the artery is injected with dye and then viewed from the side, using x-ray images, to determine the location and extent of arterial blockage. Compared to a basic angiogram, the Volcano system gives more information to the physician for use in deciding how to provide optimal medical or interventional therapy, which may include optimal stent size and placement location.
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