Chest Pain Demystified: 3D Heart Mapping Pioneered at CHI Health

Left: HeartFlow’s color-coded map of coronary arteries shows the extent of narrowing (.67 indicates severe blockage).  Right: HeartFlow’s 3D technology maps a patient’s unique coronary anatomy (shown here over a model not representative of actual product).
Left: HeartFlow’s color-coded map of coronary arteries shows the extent of narrowing (.67 indicates severe blockage). Right: HeartFlow’s 3D technology maps a patient’s unique coronary anatomy (shown here over a model not representative of actual product).

Is it a heart attack? That’s the number one question for patients with chest pain. A definitive answer often requires a coronary angiogram that looks inside the heart.

The answer is no for more than half (55 percent) of chest pain patients who come to the emergency room. That’s good news. The downside is having to undergo a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into your wrist or groin and threaded all the way to your heart – only to find no significant blockage.

What if you could get the answers without the needle, catheter and recovery?

Now, you can. New technology called HeartFlow FFRct Analysis – creates a color-coded 3D map of your heart without having to undergo a coronary angiogram. The noninvasive test approaches a 90 percent accuracy rate when compared to 50 to 70 percent for angiography – which is an invasive procedure.

The new technology was pioneered in 2018 at CHI Health hospitals.

“This technology provides a major leap forward in our ability to detect blockages without having the patient undergo an invasive procedure,” said CHI Health Cardiologist Omar Nass, MD.

HeartFlow uses CT data and advanced computer algorithms to create the personalized digital 3D models of coronary arteries and blood flow. “Because the system uses artificial intelligence, it gets smarter and faster with each new set of data,” said Dr. Nass.

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Omar Nass, MD

Cardiology