The results show that one in 10 people who have a heart bypass or a stent fitted after a heart attack do not need it and were able to have their condition managed medically rather than undergo surgery.
Led by the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and the University of Glasgow, the trial took place at 6 hospitals across the UK, was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and supported by St Jude Medical.
It suggests that current methods of measuring blood flow – a coronary arteriography: having a dye injected into the heart arteries to reveal any narrowing or complications on an x-ray – are not totally accurate and can be interpreted differently. A new measurement was trialled – Fractional Flow Reserve(FFR)- a wire-guided procedure that can accurately measure blood pressure through a narrowed heart artery to determine what treatment a patient should receive following a non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), the most common type of heart attack.
Prof Colin Berry, who led the FFR research at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, said “The FFR result potentially provides more objective information than subjective visual assessment of heart artery narrowings by the doctor.
“Potentially, FFR safely reduces the number of individuals requiring stents or surgery and importantly leads to an optimised, safer stent procedure when it is performed.”
He added: “This trial was a ‘proof-of-concept’ clinical study in heart attack patients and we are excited about the results. Some of the these are very clear, including the safety and feasibility of FFR guided treatment initially, and the improved safety of stent procedures. FFR is an established technology in stable patients, but this is not the case in heart attack patients. As such, more research is needed to assess whether this new approach can make a positive difference to the lives of patients.”
University of Glasgow: ‘Pioneering research reveals improvements in the treatment of heart attack patients’