West Midlands doctors using advanced software to diagnose coronary artery disease

Posted on 14 December 2018 (Permalink)

An adoption supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network is being used by doctors in the West Midlands to help diagnose coronary artery disease.

The Heartflow software uses CT scans to create a 3D model of the coronary arteries and analyses the impact that blockages have on blood flow. Doctors can then use this information to diagnose and treat the disease, removing the need for invasive investigations such as coronary angiography, usually carried out under local anaesthetic.

Cardiologists use Heartflow where a CT scan has revealed the disease. and the Heartflow analysis calculates how much each blockage limits the patient’s blood flow. They receive a digital, colour-coded, 3D model of the blood flow that informs treatment planning. This is made available through an electronic report, online or via a mobile app.

Heartflow has been shown to reduce the need for invasive angiograms by up to 61% and is endorsed for use in the NHS by NICE.

Derek Connolly, Consultant Cardiologist at Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said “Heartflow greatly assists the treatment planning for patients with coronary heart disease. Prior to Heartflow CT scans had limited diagnostic value. During September, 23 patients at the Trust benefited from the analysis. Heartflow is clearly the next evolution of testing for our commonest disease.”

The innovation was fast-tracked for adoption by NHS England in April this year along with three others. NICE estimate up to 35,000 people per year could be eligible. In the West Midlands, three Trusts are now actively using Heartflow.

Lucy Chatwin, Business Manager at WMAHSN, said “Heartflow shows the benefits of making more of our data. It’s receiving CT scans through an open standard and adding real clinical value. Heartflow shows the potential as we free up access to wider medical data.”

NHS England has been recently calling for open APIs to promote and accelerate innovation.