CHICAGO. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – More than 16 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease. It develops when a buildup of plaque cuts off blood flow to the heart, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, heart attacks and death. Now a new FDA approved test could change the way the disease is diagnosed and treated.
Hitting a ball is second nature to Israel Sanchez.
Sanchez told Ivanhoe, “Baseball was my love. I played eleven years professionally. I’ve played softball about 20 years.”
The former Kansas City Royals pitcher was inducted into the softball hall of fame two years ago. Soon after, his health began to strike out.
Sanchez explained, “I’m rounding second, I said I can hardly breathe. So I finally got to third and it was like somebody took all the air out of me.” He continued, “Little did I know at the time that I had 98 percent blockage in my main artery.”
Mark Rabbat, MD, FSCCT, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Radiology at Loyola University, Chicago, gave him a new non-invasive test that helped diagnose the blockage.
Dr. Rabbat told Ivanhoe, “The HeartFlow FFRCT analysis is a game- changer.”
HeartFlow uses CT technology to create a 3D model of the arteries, giving doctors the ability to determine vessel by vessel if enough blood is reaching the heart without unnecessary tests.
Dr. Rabbat said, “We’ve been performing invasive angiograms on many patients only to find no evidence of obstructive coronary artery disease. This needs to change.”
In a multi-center study researchers found 61 percent of patients were able to cancel their angiograms after taking the new test.
For Israel, it meant moving forward with a stent. “Right now I feel pretty good,” he said, and he’s back to running bases.
Data from the “platform trial” also shows the HeartFlow technology could lower the cost of evaluating patients with suspected coronary artery disease by as much as 32 percent.