September 20, 2021
The Valley Hospital is among the first to use non-invasive, artificial intelligence imaging technology to prevent heart attacks by characterizing unstable plaque buildup with a high potential to rupture that can lead to a heart attack.
Research shows that 50 percent of patients who will experience a heart attack – the most common cause of death in both men and women – will do so without experiencing prior warning symptoms. Understanding that heart attack prevention would benefit high-risk, non-symptomatic patients – such as individuals diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol – Cleerly Coronary has pioneered an alternate approach to heart attack prevention that focuses on identifying the critical characteristics of coronary artery plaque.
Cleerly’s alternative prevention approach leverages coronary artery phenotyping – a technique to define the characteristics of plaque buildup. This approach builds upon traditional CT angiography testing – a non-invasive test used to identify plaque buildup and narrowing of the heart’s coronary arteries – to help physicians identify which high-risk, non-symptomatic patients are at higher risk for heart attack.
“Think of it in terms of eggs. If you were throwing an egg back and forth with a friend, you would want your egg to have a thick outer shell to prevent cracking,” commented Gerald Sotsky, MD, Director, Cardiac Services, The Valley Hospital. “When applied to plaque buildup, the same rule applies. A highly calcified plaque may be less likely to become unstable but a thin, fatty plaque may be more likely to rupture and lead to a heart attack.”
Using an artificial intelligence approach and machine learning algorithms, Cleery compares each patient’s plaque characteristics to a database comprised of cardiac imaging and data from large-scale clinical trials. In as little as one hour, a real-time diagnosis report is generated for the healthcare provider detailing conditions of underlying heart disease, characteristics of any present coronary blockages, and risk of a future heart attack.
“Up to 80 percent of heart attacks are preventable with early diagnosis and treatment,” said Himanshu Gupta, MD, Director, Cardiac Imaging. “Cleerly has revolutionized our clinical ability to prevent heart attacks in patients who are considered high risk. This is a game – changing prevention tool that allows us to provide patients with the right care at the right time.”
“To date, Valley’s team completed approximately 170 studies using Cleerly Coronary analysis. In my opinion, this analysis combined with the physician’s review and analysis, provides an increased level of confidence in evaluating coronary artery disease, especially patients with significant coronary calcification,” commented Dr. Gupta.
For more information about the Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, please visit ValleyHealth.com/Heart. To make an appointment with a Valley cardiovascular specialist, please call 1-800-VALLEY 1 (1-800-825-5391).