CHENNAI: Everybody knows that the best way to check if your heart valves are blocked is to get an angiogram. But if your doctor wants to figure out just how thick or serious the blockage is, it can only be done using a ‘pressure measurement’ test called the Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) test, along with the angio.
In a study published in the American Journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, Interventional Cardiologist at Apollo Hospitals Dr G Sengottuvelu says, “In a detailed retrospective study we conducted at Apollo Hospitals on 59 patients who underwent FFR over a period of two years, we found that eighty-one vessels with intermediate blocks in 59 patients required 26 stents lesser when FFR data was added to the angiogram. More than 40 per cent of intermediate lesions would be misclassified as significant based on angiography alone.”
FFR involves inserting a coronary pressure guide wire into the artery and studying pressure differences instead of relying solely on the traditional coronary angiogram to determine which arteries should be stent for patients with coronary artery disease. Dr Sengottuvelu said, “In spite of the advantages of FFR there is paucity of data in Indian population who have frequent diffuse, small and multi-vessel disease where it would probably be more beneficial in terms of cost and outcome.”
According to him, the net cost benefit in favour of FFR based management was `8,57,600, “What we found was a combination of savings first at the initial procedure as a result of fewer stents and then further savings due to fewer events during follow-up — fewer heart attacks, fewer blood clots, fewer repeat surgeries,” Dr Sengottuvelu said.