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HSHS St Marys Construction 1 8.29.18

Workers start the beginning phase of construction of the new medical office building at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur in August 2018. Prairie Heart Institute announced this week that a non-invasive tool for heart disease will be added at St. Mary's later this month.

DECATUR — A non-invasive technology to offer doctors more insight into the extent of a patient's heart disease will be added later this month at Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital.

HeartFlow FFR Analysis will launch at the Decatur hospital following its debut by Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield. More than 100 HeartFlow analyses have been completed at St. John's, the heart institute said.

St. Mary's and St. John's are the first Illinois hospitals outside of Chicago to adopt HeartFlow FFR Analysis, which provides information on arterial blockage and the impact of the blockage on blood flow.

Coronary artery disease, or heart disease, is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The disease develops when arteries leading to the heart narrow, usually because of a buildup of plaque in the vessel walls. The coronary narrowing can reduce blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks and death.

Studies have shown the need to improve the accuracy of non-invasive tests used to evaluate coronary artery disease. A recent study, which included data from more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals, found that more than half of the 385,000 patients with suspected coronary artery disease who underwent an angiogram had no need for intervention because no blockage was found.

The addition of HeartFlow FFR technology provides doctors with a better assessment of the heart and coronary arteries, said Kristin Doster, executive vice president for cardiovascular services for HSHS St. John's.

"The HeartFlow Analysis provides essential information that can help us determine the right approach for a patient through a convenient, efficient and non-invasive platform," Doster said in a statement.

Using images from a non-invasive coronary CT angiogram, HeartFlow technology creates a digital 3D model of each patient's arteries. Computer algorithms then solve equations to assess the impact of blockages on blood flow. The information helps doctors to determine the appropriate course of each for each patient.

A recent study of more than 1,100 patients at major medical centers nationwide concluded that HeartFlow-guided strategy showed an 83 percent reduction in the number of patients who underwent a planned angiogram, only to find out that they had no obstructive disease, the hospitals said. 

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Contact Paul Swiech at (309) 820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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