What is FFRCT?
FFRct is the most recent diagnostic tool that we are using at Beaumont. FFRct is an advanced test used in coronary artery disease to assess how each blockage impacts blood flow to the heart.
What does it tell us and how it is used?
The test helps your doctor diagnose the impact of blockages have on blood flow to the heart. If the test shows that the blood flow to the heart is significantly affected due to a narrowing in the artery then appropriate therapy can be initiated to improve your symptoms. The other method to evaluate the impact of blood flow on blockages is during a heart catheterization by placing a wire in the artery of the heart where the blockage is. By using FFRct this evaluation can be performed in a non-invasive way with less potential risk to you.
FFRct can also help during planning for procedures. If a stent is needed to open the blockage in the coronary artery then FFRct evaluation can help determine where the stent needs to be placed. This helps planning for the heart catheterization ahead of time leading to decreased procedure time for you and decreasing the risk for potential complications.
How is it performed?
First a 3D/4D CT of your heart is performed to look for coronary artery disease or blockages in the blood vessels to the heart. If coronary artery narrowing or blockages are seen in the CT, then FFRct may be used to determine if the blockages are impeding blood flow to the heart muscle. The images from the CT are used to create a digital replica of your coronary arteries. Advanced computer analysis is then performed to determine how each blockage is affecting the blood flow. This test does not require an appointment with a physician and is automatically ordered once blockages in your arteries are seen in the CT. There is no additional risk by having this test done.
Beaumont led the way as the largest health care institution collaborating with HeartFlow to bring this innovative technology to our patients. This technology has been used at Beaumont since 2015. Earlier in 2018, insurance companies began reimbursing for this helpful non-invasive test.