Yakima, WA - A cardiologist says there is a simple procedure doctors can use to place stents more effectively, but many aren't using it.
The procedure is called intravascular ultrasound. It's been around for 15-years.
Most doctors use angiograms when they place a stent, but that only allows them to see the artery from the outside.
The ultrasound shows an inside look at all the plaque blocking the artery.
"Everybody that's come here and has been trained elsewhere not using it, now uses it on every patient. It's such useful, easy tool," says Dr. Thomas McLaughlin who is a cardiologist from Yakima.
Less than 10% of all doctors nationwide use the procedure all of the time.
Some recent studies suggest intravascular ultrasound can prevent a patient from having to come back to have another stent put in an artery a year or two later.
Dr. McLauglin says many doctors don't want to spend the time to learn how to use the technology, or they don't feel comfortable with it.