Monday, August 31, 2015
New non-invasive test may replace angiograms
Blockages that reduce blood flow a small amount can be treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs of aspirin. More severe blockages require a stent or bypass surgery.
The measure of blood flow is call fractional flow reserve (FFR). Before now, checking this required a big-deal procedure in which a thin tube was inserted in the groin artery, pushed all the way to the heart, a thin wire then put in the blockage and a sensor measured the FFR.
But now, a test has been developed by HeartFlow Inc and approved by the FDA, which basically uses CT scan technology to measure FFR from outside the body.
The CT scans create a 3D model of the arteries and computer programs simulate blood flow to those arteries to see how blocked they are.
"This is a game changer," says cardiologist Mark Rabbat, MD, of Loyola. the Loyola University Medical Center is the first to offer this.
Will other hospitals be far behind?