AI-guided detection of coronary ischemia improves survival in vascular surgery patients


Company: HeartFlow Product: HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis

Diagnosis and treatment of ischemia-producing coronary stenoses improves 5-year survival of patients undergoing major vascular surgery

Journal of Vascular Surgery, 2024



Patients undergoing vascular surgery procedures have poor long-term survival due to coexisting coronary artery disease (CAD), which is often asymptomatic, undiagnosed, and undertreated. We sought to determine whether preoperative diagnosis of asymptomatic (silent) coronary ischemia using coronary computed tomography (CT)-derived fractional flow reserve (FFRCT) together with postoperative ischemia-targeted coronary revascularization can reduce adverse cardiac events and improve long-term survival following major vascular surgery


In this observational cohort study of 522 patients with no known CAD undergoing elective carotid, peripheral, or aneurysm surgery we compared two groups of patients. Group I included 288 patients enrolled in a prospective Institutional Review Board-approved study of preoperative coronary CT angiography (CTA) and FFRCT testing to detect silent coronary ischemia with selective postoperative coronary revascularization in addition to best medical therapy (BMT) (FFRCT guided), and Group II included 234 matched controls with standard preoperative cardiac evaluation and postoperative BMT alone with no elective coronary revascularization (Usual Care). In the FFRCT group, lesion-specific coronary ischemia was defined as FFRCT #0.80 distal to a coronary stenosis, with severe ischemia defined as FFRCT #0.75. Results were available for patient management decisions. Endpoints included all-cause death, cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction (MI), and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE [death, MI, or stroke]) during 5-year follow-up.


The two groups were similar in age, gender, and comorbidities. In FFRCT, 65% of patients had asymptomatic lesion-specific coronary ischemia, with severe ischemia in 52%, multivessel ischemia in 36% and left main ischemia in 8%. The status of coronary ischemia was unknown in Usual Care. Vascular surgery was performed as planned in both cohorts with no difference in 30-day mortality. In FFRCT, elective ischemia-targeted coronary revascularization was performed in 103 patients 1 to 3 months following surgery. Usual Care had no elective postoperative coronary revascularizations. At 5 years, compared with Usual Care, FFRCT guided had fewer all-cause deaths (16% vs 36%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.22-0.60; P < .001), fewer cardiovascular deaths (4% vs 21%; HR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.04-0.33; P < .001), fewer MIs (4% vs 24%; HR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.05-0.33; P < .001), and fewer MACE (20% vs 47%; HR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.23-0.56; P < .001). Five-year survival was 84% in FFRCT compared with 64% in Usual Care (P < .001).


Diagnosis of silent coronary ischemia with ischemia-targeted coronary revascularization in addition to BMT following major vascular surgery was associated with fewer adverse cardiovascular events and improved 5-year survival compared with patients treated with BMT alone as per current guidelines.

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