UK hospitals analyzing cardiac CT images to treat artery disease

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National Health Service hospitals in the United Kingdom are using deep learning and analytics to better treat coronary artery disease.

The approach will use new data processing capabilities in addition to analytics to take a computed tomography scan to create a detailed digital three-dimensional model of a patient’s arteries. Algorithms then are applied to assess the impact of any blockages of blood flow to the heart.

A total of 13 NHS hospitals are using the technology, from HeartFlow, a medical technology company. Called the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis, the initiative is being supported by NHS England as part of its Innovation and Technology Payment program intended to help physicians better diagnose coronary artery disease.

Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United Kingdom. It is responsible for more than 66,000 deaths each year, and it is estimated that 2.3 million people in the UK are currently living with the disease. CHD develops when the arteries leading to the heart narrow or become blocked, which can reduce blood flow, and cause chest pain and heart attacks.

NHS executives say they hope the technology will help speed the approach for diagnosing and developing a treatment plan for coronary heart disease. It currently takes most UK hospitals several weeks to diagnose the disease and then formulate a treatment approach.

“To allow exciting innovations to flourish and spread, NHS England has footed the bill for a select group of products, such as the HeartFlow Analysis which could reduce the need for invasive tests, so patients can benefit faster,” says Tony Young, national clinical lead for innovation at NHS England.

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