Last week, The Whiteley Clinic in Bond Street, started performing IVUS. IVUS stands for “IntraVascular Ultrasound”. It is a very specialist test for narrowed veins in the the upper leg and pelvis.
There are very few clinics in the UK that offer this test. Most rely on less accurate alternatives such as pelvic vein duplex ultrasound, venograms, CT venography or MRI/MRV.
The IVUS catheter is a very fine tube that can be placed inside the vein under local anaesthetic.
Using ultrasound to guide the catheter directly into the vein, the expert radiologists at The Whiteley Clinic then use a state of the art C-arm X-ray machine to guide the IVUS catheter up the pelvic vein to be investigated (see picture below).
When the IVUS catheter is in the right place, the IVUS ultrasound is switched on and the IVUS catheter is drawn back at a set rate, using a special pull back machine. This ensures a smooth pull-back.
The ultrasound images of the internal structure of the vein and the vein wall can then be seen, looking for any clots or narrowings such as webs inside the vein. In addition, anything outside of the vein pushing onto the vein wall and narrowing it can easily be seen.
The IVUS is an essential test for complex vein problems where there might be a compression, narrowing or blockage of the pelvic veins, stopping the leg veins from flowing properly. Such problems can cause venous blood to “dam up” inside the leg, raising venous pressure in the leg. This is known as “venous hypertension” and is associated with varicose veins, leg ulcers, DVT and other vein problems.
The Whiteley Clinic has introduced IVUS as part of its commitment to stay as a world leading vein clinic and to make sure that The Whiteley Clinic patients get the very best investigations and treatments available.