A method and system is provided for using backscattered data and known parameters to characterize vascular tissue. Specifically, methods and devices for identifying information about the imaging element used to gather the backscattered data are provided in order to permit an operation console having a plurality of Virtual Histology classification trees to select the appropriate VH classification tree for analyzing data gathered using that imaging element. In order to select the appropriate VH database for analyzing data from a specific imaging catheter, it is advantageous to know information regarding the function and performance of the catheter, such as the operating frequency of the catheter and whether it is a rotational or phased-array catheter. The present invention provides a device and method for storing this information on the imaging catheter and communicating the information to the operation console. In addition, information related to additional functions of the catheter may also be stored on the catheter and used to further optimize catheter performance and/or select the appropriate Virtual Histology classification tree for analyzing data from the catheter imaging element.