The 3D scan that can detect heart disease in 20 minutes

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The 3D scan that can detect heart disease in 20 minutes: hi-tech imaging can enable doctors to diagnose patients five times faster … with 35,000 people benefiting from it every year

  • Introduced HeartFlow in the UK to shorten the time between the first appointment and surgery
  • It turns a regular CT scan of the heart into a 3D image that shows any blockages
  • Doctors can diagnose life-threatening heart conditions in 20 minutes

A scan that produces 3D images of the heart allows NHS doctors to diagnose and treat patients five times faster.

Hopefully, more than 35,000 patients with suspected heart disease will benefit from the service.

HeartFlow was introduced nationally last month and will reduce the time from an initial appointment to surgery from 31 weeks to seven.

It turns a regular CT scan of the heart into a 3D image showing blockages and restricted blood flow. This allows doctors to diagnose life-threatening heart conditions in just 20 minutes.

Patients may receive surgery, cholesterol-lowering statins, or healthy lifestyle advice, depending on the severity of the disease.

HeartFlow was introduced nationally last month and will reduce the time from an initial appointment to surgery from 31 weeks to seven.  Picture: stock picture

HeartFlow was introduced nationally last month and will reduce the time from an initial appointment to surgery from 31 weeks to seven. Picture: stock picture

Previously, a diagnosis required an angiogram, in which X-rays are taken while a catheter is inserted into the groin or wrist and rotated toward the heart to detect narrow or blocked arteries.

Cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter (27 percent) of all deaths in England, which equates to about 133,000 per year or 370 per day.

Matt Whitty, director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: “HeartFlow will help tens of thousands of people a year receive prompt diagnosis and treatment and ultimately save lives.”

In England, it is expected that 100,000 people with chest pain will be eligible for a scan in the next three years.

The NHS has pledged to adopt new technology and reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes by 150,000 over the next decade as part of its long-term plan.

It turns a regular CT scan of the heart into a 3D image showing blockages and restricted blood flow.  Picture: stock picture

It turns a regular CT scan of the heart into a 3D image showing blockages and restricted blood flow. Picture: stock picture

Dr. Derek Connolly, consultant interventional cardiologist at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “For every five patients with a cardiac CT and a HeartFlow analysis, four patients go home knowing they don’t need anything else.

Half of those patients will take cholesterol tablets because they have early disease, and the other half will have normal coronary arteries.

“The inclusion of the HeartFlow analysis has had a meaningful impact on our hospitals, improving the diagnosis and treatment of a major cause of death.”

Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, said: ‘The NHS Long-Term Plan is committed to reducing strokes, heart attacks and other major fatalities and ensuring patients can benefit from advanced therapies and techniques and HeartFlow is just the latest there example of .

“By rapidly improving the speed at which we diagnose and treat people with heart disease, we will save thousands of lives and enable the NHS to deliver routine services even faster than before the pandemic.”

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