The AI programme that could transform heart disease surgery – expert shares details

Paddy Doherty provides health update after heart attack

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HeartFlow is part of that diagnostic capability.

HeartFlow is a type of non-invasive technology that applies AI to data from a CT scan to complement the opinion of cardiologists.

Dr Connolly says at the moment they “have to eyeball a narrowing the coronary arteries and judge whether its flow limiting and the beauty of heart flow is we can use that to see whether that is true”.

The technology tells the cardiologists “whether a narrowing would or not benefit from a stent and that allows us to defer going into the arteries (an invasive procedure) because we know the patient will do well just with tablets alone”.

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What this technology allows doctors to do is refine treatment so it is less invasive and causes the least disruption possible.

The technology isn’t stopping there, however.

Connolly said soon AI will “have the ability to simulate what would happen if they put a stent in” so cardiologists will know whether a surgery will work before they conduct and save the need for unnecessary interventions of this nature.

As a result, AI could be able to transform the way patients with coronary heart disease are treated potentially save or extend hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

Or in Dr Connolly’s words: “The quality of care gets better.”

Meanwhile the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said the NHS is off track over its heart attack and stroke prevention plan.

The head of the charity, Dr Charmain Griffiths says a perfect storm encircling the NHS has led to heart disease targets being missed.

Targets included improving hypertension management in the under 80s and cutting ambulance waiting times.

Dr Griffiths commented during a speech at the Westminster Health Forum.

He said: “Even before the pandemic, waiting lists for vital heart care were already too high. And despite best efforts, since records began in 2017, ambulance services in England had never once met the monthly target of reaching suspected heart attack patients within 18 minutes on average.

“We truly believe just the recovery of services to pre-pandemic levels is not enough to build a future free from the fear of heart and circulatory disease. We must do better, go faster, stretch further.

“It is no exaggeration to say that people’s lives are on the line. To make this possible, every part of the voluntary sector, public health, NHS, and research communities must come together.”

Dr Griffiths added everyone had a role to play.

Recent analysis from the BHF shows most of NHS England’s main commitments to improving heart and cardiovascular disease will not be met over the next decade.

The report came as the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said such was the pressure on the NHS it was breaking its basic agreement to the public.

For nearly a decade the NHS has been under increasing pressure amid a series of crises.

These have been exacerbated by two years of fighting Covid.

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