Are UK Hospitals Better Prepared for COVID?

Prepare the umbrella before it rains.

– Malay Proverb

Is it possible that the decisions made in 2016 by a group of healthcare analysts and clinicians have made England’s hospitals better prepared to provide quality cardiovascular care during the COVID-19 pandemic? In a word, yes.

In 2016, clinical guidance from the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) indicated that hospitals should forego functional testing and instead begin utilizing coronary CTA for stable chest pain patients across the spectrum of pre-test likelihood of coronary artery disease (CAD). And in 2017, NICE recommended use of the HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis to aid in determining which patients whose CTA showed CAD of uncertain functional significance should be considered for invasive assessment.

These clinical recommendations were incredibly bold when announced 3 to 4 years ago. As such, they were met with both excitement and some incredulity as national leaders recognized that CT capacity would have to be expanded by 700% to meet the clinical demand this clinical pathway would create.

Fast forward to 2020, and leading NHS England facilities that have adopted this CT+FFRCT pathway are now reporting significant clinical advantages that are even more valuable in the time of COVID.

For example, the Freeman Hospital within the Newcastle NHS system in northeast England, has one of the busiest interventional programs in the UK. As they adopted the NICE guidance, this system found a:

Newcastle’s experience is not unique. NHS facilities in Bath in England’s southwest report similar findings, including:

These data are even more powerful in light of recent guidance from leading cardiovascular societies to “avoid elective procedures when possible” (ACC & SCAI) and that “coronary CTA should be preferred… during COVID-19 pandemic” as it is “accurate, fast and minimizes the exposure of patients.” (ESC)

What the team at NICE recognized in 2016, and continues to emphasize in 2020, is that CT+FFRCT offers a fast, safe, and non-invasive path to diagnostic clarity for stable symptomatic patients in whom CAD is suspected. In 2016, many viewed the reductions in interactions between patient and provider, and reduced duplicative testing and invasive diagnostic procedures simply as health economic and patient experience benefits. Today, however, we view these as critical safety factors that allow providers and health care facilities to manage cardiovascular patients effectively in the COVID-19 era.

Changes to improve patient care will always create some disruption, but they become a necessity when a clinician may only have one chance to make the right call. Kudos to those at NICE and NHSE for their bold decisions that are bearing fruit in a time when providers and patients need it most.

— A perspective from HeartFlow Chief Medical Officer, Campbell Rogers, MD
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HeartFlow FFRCT 分析は、有資格の臨床医による臨床的に安定した症状のある冠状動脈疾患患者への使用を目的とした個別化された心臓検査です。 HeartFlow Analysis によって提供される情報は、資格のある臨床医が患者の病歴、症状、その他の診断検査、および臨床医の専門的判断と組み合わせて使用​​することを目的としています。


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The HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis is a personalized cardiac test indicated for use in clinically stable symptomatic patients with coronary artery disease by qualified clinicians. The information provided by the HeartFlow Analysis is intended to be used by qualified clinicians in conjunction with the patient’s history, symptoms, and other diagnostic tests, as well as the clinician’s professional judgement.

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Campbell Rogers, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Campbell brings a wealth of experience to HeartFlow, where he serves as the Chief Medical Officer. Prior to joining HeartFlow, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and Global Head of Research and Development at Cordis Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, where he was responsible for leading investments and research in cardiovascular devices. Prior to Cordis, he was Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard-M.I.T. Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and Director of the Cardiac Catheterization and Experimental Cardiovascular Interventional Laboratories at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He served as Principal Investigator for numerous interventional cardiology device, diagnostic, and pharmacology trials, is the author of numerous journal articles, chapters, and books in the area of coronary artery and other cardiovascular diseases, and was the recipient of research grant awards from the NIH and AHA.

He received his A.B. from Harvard College and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.