The NHS is rolling out revolutionary 3D technology to diagnose and treat around 100,000 patients with suspected heart disease, five times faster than normal.
Known as ‘HeartFlow’, the tech turns a regular CT scan of the heart into a 3D image allowing doctors to diagnose life-threating coronary heart disease in just twenty minutes.
Previously patients would have to go to a hospital for an invasive and time-consuming angiogram.
“Patients will now be seen, diagnosed, and treated, around five times quicker, offering more convenient care and helping hardworking NHS Staff to get services back on track after the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” the NHS has said.
The latest installation is part of the NHS Long Term Plan goal to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes by 150,000.
Once patients are diagnosed using the 3D image treatments include surgery, medication or having a stent fitted. For less serious cases patients will be given tips on healthy lifestyle changes or cholesterol-lowering medication – meaning the risk is quickly resolved before it becomes life-threatening.
NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: “The NHS Long Term Plan committed to cutting strokes, heart attacks and other major killers as well as ensuring patients would benefit from cutting edge therapies and techniques and HeartFlow is just the latest example of that.
“By rapidly improving the rate we diagnose and treat those with a heart condition we will save thousands of lives and ensure as well as delivering the most successful vaccination programme in health service history, the NHS is able to deliver routine services even quicker than before the pandemic.”
More people in England will have access to the potentially life-saving technology than anywhere else in Europe, the US or Japan.
Around 100,000 people are eligible to use HeartFlow over the next three years, with more than 35,000 people set to benefit each year.
Matt Whitty, director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: “This latest innovation will help patients and will contribute to helping the NHS to recover from the pandemic as we continue to deliver on our ambitious Long Term Plan commitments to provide patients across the country with the most up to date tech, as quickly as possible.
“HeartFlow has been a huge success in clinical trials and will now help tens of thousands of people a year receive quick diagnosis and treatment and ultimately save lives.”