NHS Hospitals in UK are tapping deep learning and advanced algorithms to analyse blood flow to the heart in order to help control coronary heart disease.

More than 66,000 deaths occur annually in the UK due to coronary heart disease (CHD).

It is estimated that around 2.3 million people in the UK are living with the disease.

CHD develops when the arteries leading to the heart narrow or become blocked, which reduces blood flow, and causes heart attacks.

The HeartFlow FFRct Analysis is being used by NHS England as part of the Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme, which will  enable doctors to diagnose coronary heart disease in an improved manner.

Compared to other tests, this technology offers high diagnostic performance and cuts down the requirement for unnecessary tests, such as an invasive diagnostic angiogram.

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According to the estimates of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), HeartFlow can save approximately £9.1m annually to the NHS.

As part of  the ITP, the HeartFlow Analysis is presently available in 13 hospitals across the country and plans are underway to roll out in over 35 hospitals by the end of this year.

With deep learning and data processing following a coronary computed tomography (CT) scan, the HeartFlow Analysis creates a digital 3D model of the patient’s arteries. It then applies advanced algorithms to solve complex equations to analyse the impact of blockages on blood flow.

NHS England national clinical lead for innovation Professor Tony Young said: “To allow exciting innovations to flourish and spread, NHS England has footed the bill for a select group of products, such as the HeartFlow Analysis which could reduce the need for invasive tests, so patients can benefit faster.”