St. Luke’s brings Heart Flow Analysis to Polk

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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Today, I have some exciting news to share with you! Our local hospital is now providing additional cardiac testing! St. Luke’s Hospital now provides non-invasive Heart Flow Analysis following a Coronary CTA (CT angiography) to aid area physicians in diagnosing coronary artery disease.

Coronary artery disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and develops when the greater arteries of the heart narrow or become blocked. This narrowing induces blood flow restrictions, which lead to chest pain, heart attacks and death. In the past, at St. Luke’s, the protocol for chest pain patients was to measure cardiac troponin and perform an ECG and a CTA. If a heart attack was suspected, the hospital referred the patient to a heart catheterization lab for a higher level of care. Because of the limited sensitivity of these tests, about fifty percent of patients sent to a catheterization lab had no blood flow-limiting blockage and did not need catheterization.

With the Revolution Apex Elite CT online since last year and the Radiology Department receiving additional training, St. Luke’s now offers Heart Flow Analysis. The non-invasive Heart Flow Analysis is a personalized cardiac test providing unprecedented visualization of the greater coronary arteries, revealing the heart and its arteries in precise 3D detail, showing stenosis and percentage of blockage. The test is performed following a coronary computed tomography angiography using acquired data providing the physician with the amount of restrictive arterial flow to the heart muscle.

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This test is a game-changer at St. Luke’s Cardiology. It provides Dr. Kemp and Dr. Hutto with the data needed to create the most appropriate treatment plans and possibly eliminate the need for a catheterization procedure for about half of their patients.

Historically, data was only available through an invasive procedure but is now available through a coronary CTA, where the Heart Flow Analysis leverages algorithms using deep learning (AI) and human analysts to create a 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries. Then, using robust computer algorithms, our Heart Flow Analysis technology simulates blood flow to determine the degree of blockages in blood flow to the heart. Within hours, the healthcare team can know the extent of any arterial blockage and its impact on blood flow to the heart. 

So how does it work? First, your doctor orders a Calcium Score Test to measure calcification in the greater cardiac arteries. If your score is high, your doctor may recommend the Cardiac CTA with Heart Flow Analysis. The Heart Flow Analysis does not require an additional appointment and does not carry an additional risk.

Then, the Heart Flow Analysis produces a detailed 3D coronary artery model and calculates blood flow limitations from the CT scan data.

Lastly, your doctor develops a treatment plan to treat your condition effectively.

Using Heart Flow Analysis can lessen the number of patients needing a heart catheterization, making cardiac care safer and more affordable for patients at St. Luke’s. This is so exciting for our area, so I urge you to talk to your doctor about getting your Calcium Score as a first step. I wrote to you a few months ago about getting mine, and it is an easy and quick test to complete! 

The Heart Flow Analysis is seventy-five percent more likely to identify patients needing intervention and offers the highest diagnostic accuracy from a non-invasive test. Additionally, this test reduces the cost of care by 26% compared to the traditional diagnostic protocol.

The Heart Flow Analysis provides the most accurate non-invasive diagnostics, reduces unnecessary tests and ensures confidence in treating suitable patients.

To learn more about the HeartFlow Analysis technology available at St. Luke’s Cardiology, call Dr. Kemp at (828) 894-5627 or visit StLukesNCorg/HeartFlow.