Although intracoronary ultrasonography allows detailed tomographic imaging of the arterial wall, it fails to provide data on the structural architecture and longitudinal extent of arterial disease. This information is essential for decision making during therapeutic interventions. Three-dimensional reconstruction techniques offer visualization of the complex longitudinal architecture of atherosclerotic plaques in composite display. Progress in computer hardware and software technology have shortened the reconstruction process and reduced operator interaction considerably, generating three-dimensional images with delineation of mural anatomy and pathology. The indications for intravascular ultrasonography will grow as the technique offers the unique capability of providing ultrasonic histology of the arterial wall, and the need for a three-dimensional display format for comprehensive analysis is increasingly recognized. Consequently, three-dimensional imaging is being rapidly implemented in the catheterization laboratories for guidance of intracoronary interventions and detailed assessment of their results. However exciting the prospects may be, three-dimensional reconstructions at present remain partially artificial because the true spatial position of the imaging catheter tip is not recorded, and shifts in its location and curves of the arterial lumen result in pseudoreconstructions rather than true reconstructions. In this report, we address the principles of three-dimensional reconstruction with a critical review of its limitations. Potential solutions for refinement of this exciting imaging modality are presented.

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American Heart Association
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

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