NICE throws weight behind non-invasive cardiac diagnostics technology

NICE guidance recommends HeartFlow FFRct analysis to determine cause of stable chest pain

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance on the use of the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis to help determine the cause of stable chest pain in patients.

It’s given me a complete second chance - it showed my doctor that I needed a stent to address my blockage and help prevent a heart attack

Developed by HeartFlow, the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis is the first non-invasive technology to provide insight into both the extent of coronary artery disease and the impact that disease has on blood flow to the heart, enabling clinicians to select an appropriate treatment.

NICE recommends the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis for patients with stable recent-onset chest pain.

Based on the evidence, it concluded the technology is safe, has a high level of diagnostic accuracy and may avoid the need for invasive coronary angiography. The committee further concluded that, when compared to all other tests, use of the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis could save the NHS approximately £214 per patient, equating to £9.1million a year in NHS England alone, through avoiding unnecessary invasive tests and treatment.

The guidance follows chest pain guidelines issued by NICE in November 2016, recommending non-invasive coronary CT angiography (cCTA) as the initial diagnostic test for patients with stable chest pain.

The HeartFlow FFRct Analysis provides a definitive understanding of both the anatomical and functional findings, without any additional testing or risk for patients

NICE now recommends the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis as the most-cost-effective option when additional information is needed by the clinician.

HeartFlow’s process starts with data from a standard, non-invasive cCTA.

Leveraging deep learning, an advanced form of artificial intelligence, HeartFlow creates a personalised, 3D model of each patient’s arteries. Powerful computer algorithms then solve millions of complex equations to simulate blood flow and assess the impact of blockages in the arteries. With this actionable information, physicians can determine the right course of action for each patient.

“The HeartFlow FFRct Analysis provides a definitive understanding of both the anatomical and functional findings, without any additional testing or risk for patients,” said Dr Joseph Mills of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

HeartFlow FFrct is being recommended for use by the NHS

“Application of the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis is likely to transform the quality of care we can provide for patients, ensuring the most-accurate diagnosis and the best treatment plan, as well reducing the need for invasive coronary angiography – a procedure not without its risks.”

Following some chest pain and increasing difficulty with exercise, John Roberts, 50 of Southport, took part in a trial of the technology.

"I feel extremely lucky to have had access to the non-invasive HeartFlow FFRct Analysis,” he said.

We appreciate NICE’s thorough review of HeartFlow’s technology and believe its detailed assessment will be a valuable resource for providers and payers seeking to improve patient care

“It’s given me a complete second chance - it showed my doctor that I needed a stent to address my blockage and help prevent a heart attack.

“I am so grateful that I was able to get the treatment that was right for me at the right time - it’s been absolutely life changing and I’m already back to doing my 10k runs. ”

“The NICE guidance reinforces the value of the HeartFlow Analysis and affirms this technology can improve the way coronary artery disease is diagnosed and treated,” said John H Stevens, managing director, chairman and chief executive of HeartFlow.

“We appreciate NICE’s thorough review of HeartFlow’s technology and believe its detailed assessment will be a valuable resource for providers and payers seeking to improve patient care.”

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women around the world.

It develops when the arteries leading to the heart narrow, often because plaque builds up in the vessel walls.

This can reduce blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks and death.

Coronary artery disease is also one of the costliest medical diseases in the world today.

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