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Images produced with an intravascular ultrasound system (IVUS) can be distorted because of uncertainty in the instantaneous angular position of a rotating ultrasonic transducer. A rotary encoder placed in proximity to the transducer is required to detect the problem; however, size constraints make a conventional electromechanical or optomechanical encoder difficult to implement. Measurements that test the feasibility of a software-derived encoder, based of the rate of decorrelation of ultrasonic RF lines with angle, are reported. Provided that the instantaneous angular velocity of the transducer can be measured, adjustments can be made to the pulse rate of the transducer, which would eliminate the image distortion.