, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 209-214,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Feb 2011

Ultrasound and light: friend or foe? On the role of intravascular ultrasound in the era of optical coherence tomography


More than 20 years after its introduction, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) has outlived many other intracoronary techniques. IVUS was useful to solve many interventional problems and assisted us in understanding the dynamics of atherosclerosis. It serves as an established imaging endpoint in large progression-regression trial and as an important workhorse in many catheterization laboratories. Nowadays, increasingly complex lesions are treated with drug-eluting stents. The application of IVUS during such interventions can be very useful. Recently, optical coherence tomography (OCT), a light-based imaging technique, has entered the clinical arena. The “omnipresence” of OCT during scientific sessions and live courses with PCI may raise in many the question: Does IVUS have a future in the “era of OCT”? Three review articles, highlighted by this editorial, demonstrate the broad spectrum of current IVUS applications and underline the significant role of IVUS during the last two decades. OCT, the much younger technique, still has to prove its value. Yet OCT is likely to take over some of the current indications of IVUS as a research tool. In addition, OCT is currently gaining clinical significance for stent optimization during complex interventional procedures. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that IVUS still has a major role in studies on coronary atherosclerosis and for guidance of coronary stenting. Thus, ultrasound and light—are they friend or foe? In fact, both methods are good in their own rights. They are complementary rather than competitive. Moreover, in combination, at least for certain indications, they could be even better.