Patient Stories

A Patient’s Positive Outlook on Heart Health


Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease, affecting nearly half of the adult population. Getting the correct diagnosis for your symptoms is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment.

With traditional non-invasive diagnostic tests, 20-30% of patients are sent home with their disease undetected, often leading to fatal results, while 55% of patients sent for an invasive, diagnostic cath end up not having obstructive disease. This invasive procedure is not without risk to the patient, takes time and money, and can create additional anxiety.

Why risk missing disease or having an unnecessary invasive procedure when there is a better alternative?

A Family History of Heart Disease

Mike Gartman, a 60-year old accountant, knew that his family had a history of heart disease. His father had passed at age 44 from a heart attack, and since then, Mike has been a huge advocate for heart disease prevention. For much of his life, Mike was an active backpacker and golfer who regularly met with an integrative doctor to mitigate his risk of heart disease. But like many during the pandemic, his level of activity slowed down; with the arrival of his grandchildren, he had even less time to spend on being physically active.

Mike’s Story

Despite his general good health, in August of 2021 Mike suddenly experienced such severe chest pain that he doubled over in the shower. His cardiologist, Dr. Mark East, immediately ordered a coronary CT based on Mike's age, family history, and an enlarged aorta that had shown up on a prior calcium scan. Mike's CT scan revealed a potentially severe stenosis in his left anterior descending (LAD), and the radiologist determined that a HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis was necessary to understand the true impact the stenosis was having on blood flow in the arteries.

The HeartFlow Analysis came back within hours, indicating there was some flow limitation toward the distal end of the LAD, but this did not pose much concern. Mike's cardiologist decided against the placement of a stent and determined that the use of statins and maintaining a healthy lifestyle would control Mike's coronary artery disease. Without the information gained from the HeartFlow Analysis, Mike would have undergone an unnecessary invasive procedure.

It’s reassurance and peace of mind that I’m not getting a false negative from traditional cardiac tests, said Mike.

Benefits of the HeartFlow Analysis

Mike went into the hospital expecting the worst. Instead, he was able to avoid an unreliable exercise stress test3 as well as an unnecessary invasive procedure. The process was quick and only required one hospital visit, with results ready and available in his electronic medical record in only a few hours. For Mike, realization of the real impact and value of this advanced test came when he was able to see his own HeartFlow Analysis.

Being able to see the personalized 3D model of his coronary arteries really put Mike’s mind at ease about his disease and risks.

I feel really good, like I can still do something about it. I don’t have to get bypass surgery or get stents, but I can do things to have better control of my coronary artery disease like lose weight and keep my blood pressure down. I always have the HeartFlow model in the back of my mind and keep reminding myself that I have to keep it blue.

A Hopeful Outlook

Mike has since worked on improving his lifestyle, has lost weight, and is determined to keep his HeartFlow Analysis ‘blue’. The HeartFlow Analysis also helped reinforce with his physicians the importance of a non-invasive diagnostic pathway that can provide accurate results, while also minimizing the resource burden of unnecessary testing.

I was very lucky that I had chest pain and was able to get a HeartFlow Analysis in a way. For me, it was a wakeup call that made me go, ‘Hey, I have a chance here…I can still improve my lifestyle and keep my disease at bay. I might make it all the way to the end without a heart attack.'

What makes the CCTA + HeartFlow pathway better?

To address the current gaps in cardiac diagnostic testing, this pathway:

  • Delivers better per-vessel diagnostic performance than other non-invasive cardiac tests4
  • Identifies functional disease other non-invasive cardiac tests may overlook4,5
  • Limits unnecessary invasive testing6
  • Reduces radiation exposure by up to 50% (compared to a SPECT test)7

Request a patient information kit to discuss the HeartFlow Analysis with your physician.

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  1. Arbab-Zadeh, HeartInt 2012. Yokota, et al. NethHeart J 2018. Nakanishi, et al. J NuclCardiol 2016.
  2. Douglas, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016.
  3. Patel, et al. N Engl J Med 2010. Patel, et al. AHJ 2014.
  4. Driessen, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2019; Norgaard, et al, Euro J Radiol 2015.
  5. Melikian, et al. JACC: Cardiovasc Interv 2010; Jung, et al. Euro Heart J 2008. Koo, et al. J Am Coll; Cardiol 2011. Min, et al. JAMA 2012. Nørgaard, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2014.
  6. Patel, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2019.
  7. Stocker, et al. Euro Heart J 2018.

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