Source: British Heart Foundation
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Date of publication: April 2020
Publication type: News
In a nutshell: Currently, when a patient has a cardiac event or sees their doctor to complain of chest pain, they will often be sent for an angiogram – an X-ray used to examine blood vessels that can show whether patients have coronary artery disease, where fatty plaques build up in the vessels supplying blood to the heart. However, because the results aren’t always clear, there can be ambiguity as to where the problem areas are and their severity.
A pressure wire test can be performed to more accurately measure the blood pressure gradient across a narrowing within the heart, and tell doctors whether a person will benefit from treatment to open the blood vessels up. However, few people receive the test as it is expensive and time-consuming.
Prof Gunn and his team have developed a computer model called virtual Fractional Flow Reserve (vFFR) that calculates the pressure measurements from pictures of the blood vessels without needing the wire. It could provide greater clinical insight for doctors when making decisions about how to treat coronary artery disease.
Using data collected from hundreds of existing angiograms, the software has been proven to be accurate as tested against real pressure wire measurements. It displays the pressure gradient in colour, a healthy blood pressure gradient being green, and a significant pressure gradient in red.
Length of publication: 1 webpage
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Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation