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New Novel Technology Changes the Way Heart Disease is Managed

Posted 4/26/2016 by UHBlog

Ask your doctor if you should be tested to assess your risks of coronary artery disease.

New Novel Technology Changes the Way Heart Disease is Managed

Advances make monitoring easier and more comfortable.

If you could stop a heart attack from occurring by undergoing non-invasive testing, would you?

A new, non-invasive diagnostic test may give you answers earlier so that you can determine your likelihood of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). Armed with this knowledge, you may be able to prevent the suffering associated with CAD, the most common type of heart disease and the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Developed by HeartFlow Inc., FFRCT is the first and only non-invasive imaging technology specifically designed to offer insight on both the extent of the blockage, as well as whether it is impacting blood flow to the heart. University Hospitals, an early adopter of the technology, is the first hospital system in the U.S. to offer HeartFlow FFRCT imaging.

The highly accurate test combines anatomy, which looks at artery narrowing, and function, which examines blood flow and assesses your CAD risk. The test:

  • Measures blockages in the heart arteries using standard cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Employs HeartFlow's special analysis to determine if the blocked artery is reducing blood flow to your heart muscle

According to cardiologist Hiram Bezerra, MD, PhD, the FFRCT test offers multiple advantages, such as:

  • A non-invasive way to look at both a person's anatomy and physiology. “This is the best non-invasive test for deciding the need for invasive heart catheterization,” he says.
  • Ease of use – “The beauty of it is that there’s no special scanner or special protocol,” he says. “It’s based on a standard that you do every day. By combining the CTA with a physiological assessment, unnecessary catheterizations based previously on false-positive stress tests can be avoided.”
  • The potential to reduce health care costs because certain invasive procedures could be avoided, which would also help reduce radiation exposure and potential complications.

“The FFRCT technology is the best gatekeeper available,” Dr. Bezerra says. “It has the potential to transform the way coronary artery disease is managed.”

Insurance companies may not cover the FFRCT test. To undergo the FFRCT test, your physician requests a cardiac CT angiography that must be pre-certificated by your insurance company. The test is scheduled at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center or University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

The results help determine next steps. The cardiac CT angiography results may be definitive and require no additional testing or analysis. However, if HeartFlow analysis is recommended, you'll get your final results within 24 to 48 hours.

Hiram Bezerra, MD, PhD is a cardiologist and medical director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Core Laboratory of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with Dr. Bezerra or any other University Hospitals doctor online.

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