Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Improved Diagnostic Technology may Obviate Need for Unpleasant Drug

Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Last Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011
Bookmark and Share
A new method for measuring narrowing in the arteries of the heart may allow patients to be assessed for a stent without having to take a drug with unpleasant side effects.

In England, it is estimated that one in seven men and one in 12 women over the age of 65 experience chest pain called angina caused by narrowing of the arteries in the heart. Around 60,000 such patients a year are fitted with a coronary stent - a wire mesh tube that acts as a scaffold to keep open arteries that risk becoming blocked, leading to a heart attack. However, stents sometimes lead to problems later on as they can promote the growth of scar tissue, leading to re-narrowing of the artery. It is therefore important to determine when a stent is needed and when it might not be worth the risk.

The most accurate method currently used to measure narrowing in arteries requires the patient to take a drug such as adenosine that dilates the blood vessels. Now, a refined, investigational drug-free technique may be just as reliable, according to the results of a feasibility study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Doctors traditionally assess narrowing of the coronary arteries using an X-ray image called a coronary angiogram, but it may not always be clear from the angiogram whether a stent is absolutely necessary.

A technique called fractional flow reserve (FFR), which involves inserting a wire into the artery to measure changes in blood pressure, is sometimes used in addition to an angiogram to give a more clinically accurate measurement to help clinicians make the decision to insert a stent. However, FFR requires the patient to be given a drug such as adenosine to dilate blood vessels, which can cause unpleasant side effects including facial flushing and shortness of breath. Although there is good evidence that FFR is useful, it is done in only 5-10 per cent of cardiac stenting procedures because it is costly, time-consuming and some patients cannot receive adenosine, such as patients with certain heart conduction diseases.

Now, researchers at Imperial College London, in collaboration with US-based medical technology company Volcano Corporation (NASDAQ: VOLC), have developed a way to measure narrowings in the arteries instantaneously, using the same instruments as FFR but without the need for a drug. The new investigational method, termed the instant wave-Free Ratio(tm) (iFR(tm) ,could benefit patients by making it easier for doctors to determine whether a stent is the best option.

"FFR is a valuable tool that helps doctors make treatment decisions, but certain barriers mean it isn't used as often as it might be," said lead researcher Dr Justin Davies, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. "One of those barriers is the need to inject adenosine, which simulates how the heart behaves when the patient is exercising. Having to use adenosine increases the time, cost and complexity of the procedure, not to mention causing some discomfort for the patient. Our new approach could enable doctors to perform an accurate measurement without the use of drugs. We think this will have a big impact on clinical practice."

Like FFR, iFR works by inserting a wire into the coronary artery to measure blood pressure on either side of the narrowing. Dr Davies and his colleagues demonstrated that it was possible to obtain a measurement during a particular time in the heart's cycle, which did not depend on using drugs to dilate the blood vessels.

In the study, the researchers used the new iFR method to measure 157 artery narrowings in 131 patients. They found that iFR produced very similar results to FFR, and that the measurements using iFR were highly reproducible.

This study was funded by the Imperial Comprehensive Biomedical Research Council, established by a grant from the National Institute for Health Research; and the Coronary Flow Trust with support from Volcano Corporation. iFR is an investigational method being developed, and upon regulatory approval will be commercialized, by Volcano. Additional research is planned to validate this new methodology.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Genetic Form of Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Researchers Develop New Breath Test to Diagnose Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer
Test will now be tested in a larger trial involving three hospitals in London.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
DNA Sequencing Traces The Spread Of Drug-Resistant TB
Scientists have for the first time used DNA sequencing to trace the fatal spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis between patients in the UK.
Monday, March 23, 2015
European Universities and Companies Form €2Bn Community to Promote Health
A consortium of 144 European companies, research institutes and universities has won EU backing to promote healthy living and active ageing.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Monitoring Effectiveness Of Hay Fever Immunotherapy
A new test for measuring histamine release from certain white blood cells could help doctors monitor the effectiveness of immunotherapy for hay fever.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Self-assembling Nanoparticle Could Improve MRI Scanning for Cancer Diagnosis
Scientists have designed the nanoparticle that targets tumours, to help doctors diagnose cancer earlier.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
New App Helps Patients Ensure Best Outcome from Surgery
MySurgery - New and innovative approach to reducing risk in surgery.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Genetic Discovery Could Aid Diagnosis of Childhood TB
A distinctive genetic 'signature' found in the blood of children with TB offers new hope for improved diagnosis of the disease.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
MedCity Launched at Imperial College London
MedCity, a major new medical research and translation initiative, was launched at Imperial College London by the Mayor of London.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Blood Clotting Finding may Lead to New Treatments
Researchers find that a key protein that causes the blood to clot is produced by blood vessels in the lungs and not just the liver.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Scientific News
Detecting HIV Diagnostic Antibodies with DNA Nanomachines
New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV.
Horse Illness Shares Signs of Human Disease
Horses with a rare nerve condition have similar signs of disease as people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, a study has found.
Compound Doubles Up On Cancer Detection
Researchers have found that tagging a pair of markers found almost exclusively on a common brain cancer yields a cancer signal that is both more obvious and more specific to cancer.
The Age of Humans Controlling Microbes
Engineered bacteria could soon be used to detect environmental toxins, treat diseases, and sustainably produce chemicals and fuels.
Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
Are Changes to Current Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines Required?
Editorial suggests more research is needed to pinpoint age to end aggressive screening.
New Molecular Marker for Killer Cells
Cell marker enables prognosis about the course of infections.
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos