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Non-invasive assessment of cardiac condition

The blood vessels that wrap the heart, called coronaries, become sometime partially obstructed, preventing the blood to circulate properly; such condition tend to worsen with time, producing a number of serious health problems including heart failure.  

It has been proven that an instrumental measurement, called Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR), can very effectively recognise the severity of such occlusions, and provide an excellent basis for deciding, in each patient, the most suitable treatment. Unfortunately, the measurement of FFR is and invasive and complex procedure, that only a few hospitals are equipped to perform, and that involve some risks for the patient.

Thus, in spite its efficacy it is rarely used in the clinical practice. A patient-specific vascular modelling technology, emerged from the EU-Heart project, is now being used to estimate the FFR (vFFR) starting from rotational angiography images. After a preliminary on 20 patients was successful, where 19 patients out of 20 were stratified in the same way by FFR and vFFR, the vFFR predictor is now being tested in a mono-centric clinical trial funded by the Wellcome Trust over 100 patients.

Morris PD, Ryan D, Morton AC, Lycett R, Lawford PV, Hose DR, Gunn JP (2013, February). Virtual Fractional Flow Reserve From Coronary Angiography: Modeling the Significance of Coronary Lesions: Results From the VIRTU-1 (VIRTUal Fractional Flow Reserve From Coronary Angiography) Study. J Am Coll Cardiol Intv., 6(2), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.jcin.2012.08.024
Public dissemination: BBC coverage

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