The Heartscan Blog.

Cardiac and heart disease news and features from VCL's expert team.

FFR CT HeartFlow

Michael Hickman

Posted on Monday March 22, 2021 in Features

by Dr Michael Hickman MD FRCP
Consultant Cardiologist

FFFR CT Software.

Coronary artery disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom which develops when the arteries leading to the heart narrow or become blocked leading to a reduction in blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks and death. Many of the non-invasive tests available today have low accuracy rates in detecting CHD which means many patients end up having to be admitted to hospital for an invasive test to find out.

Guildford Surrey UK – 10th April 2021 (or whatever date we can start) – The Virtual Cath Lab Surrey announced today that it is the only Private Provider in Surrey to offer HeartFlow analysis, an innovative, non-invasive technology that helps doctors diagnose which of their patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) are likely to most benefit from an invasive coronary angiogram.

The flip side is, importantly, the technology’s major advantage of accurately identifying patients that do NOT need to be admitted for invasive angiography, potentially avoiding large numbers of unnecessary invasive procedures.

Evidence based medicine

Clinical trials have demonstrated that by undergoing a good quality Cardiac CT angiogram and where necessary, further data processing using FFR CT,  it is largely possible to avoid invasive other testing modalities and undergo just a single non-invasive cardiac CT scan which can both detect the presence of any coronary disease, and accurately guide as to whether any specific coronary narrowing might benefit from an invasive procedure to deliver a coronary stent or plan for coronary artery bypass grafting (reference link).

Using a Heartflow based CT practice when evaluating people with suspected heart disease has been shown to reduce the number of invasive coronary angiograms being undertaken that showed no significant obstructive coronary disease from 73% to 12%. This approach also reduces whole system cost and exposure to the small procedural risk of a dangerous complication entailed when undergoing an invasive coronary angiogram. When assessed in a real-life NHS hospital setting FFR CT has also been shown to be extremely helpful in discriminating the management strategy for moderate coronary narrowing’s (reference link).

This New Non-Invasive Test Can Help Doctors Diagnose and Treat Heart Disease, and Reduce Costs

“Historically, we have been faced with either using tests that were at best 85% accurate  or putting our patient through an invasive procedure just to determine whether they would need a stent to restore the blood flow.” said Dr. Michael Hickman, Consultant Cardiologist, from Virtual Cath Lab. “In our experience, HeartFlow analysis has completely changed this paradigm, providing essential information that can help us determine the right approach for a patient through a convenient, non-invasive platform.”

The FFR CT procedure differs in that the CT scan data can be transferred, via cloud technology, to the HeartFlow team, who are able to analyse the data and create a personalised 3D model of the heart and arteries. From there, algorithms are created to assess the impact of any narrowed or blocked arties on the hearts blood flow. The result of this is a colour-coded picture that is used to determine further treatment, which is sent back to VCL  within 24 hours.

How it works:-

  1. If you are experiencing cardiac chest symptoms you can either see a local Cardiologist or self refer to Virtual Cath Lab using our free Virtual Consultation
  2. Where our experienced cardiologist believes it is necessary, you will be referred for a standard CT scan in our Surrey test centre, providing detailed pictures of the coronary arteries.
  3. If these CT images show indications of disease, the entire set of images will then be sent to HeartFlow to create a computerised 3D model of the coronary arteries
  4. Trained specialists and proven calculations with powerful computers will assess the blood flow in the arteries
  5. Your consultant receives a digital 3D colour coded model of the blood flow, aiding in diagnosing blockages and will be able to make a diagnosis and treatment plan for you

To find out more or to book an appointment with a cardiologist, please contact our VCL office from 9:00am-5:00pm 7 days a week, on 01202 705454 or complete our contact form

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