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Cookeville Regional introduces new cardiac imaging tool

The cardiology team at Cookeville Regional Medical Center is constantly innovating in diagnosing heart issues.

With the introduction of HeartFlow Analysis, a new non-invasive test, physicians can diagnose and treat heart disease and reduce costs.

“Historically, we have been faced with either using tests that were frequently inaccurate or putting a patient through an invasive procedure just to determine whether they would need another invasive procedure to restore blood flow,” said Dr. Ashley Nickerson, cardiac radiologist at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. “The HeartFlow Analysis completely changes this paradigm, providing essential information that can help us determine the right approach for a patient through a convenient, non-invasive platform.”

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. CAD develops with the arteries leading to the heart narrow or become blocked, which may lead to a reduction in blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, heart attacks and death.

Despite being the most common form of heart disease, studies have shown there is a need to improve how CAD is evaluated and diagnosed. Many of the non-invasive tests available today have low accuracy rates in detecting CAD.

Additionally, a recent study found more than half of patients with suspected CAD who underwent an invasive coronary angiogram (ICA) had no need for intervention, since no blood flow-limiting blockage was found during the procedure.

The HeartFlow Analysis takes data from a patient’s non-invasive coronary CTA (the use of X-rays in the form of computed tomography to diagnose coronary artery disease) and leverages algorithms trained using deep learning (a form of AI) and highly-trained analysts to create a personalized, digital 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries. It then uses powerful computer algorithms to simulate blood flow and assess the impact of blockages on blood flow to the heart.

Within hours, the HeartFlow Analysis is provided to the patient’s physician through a secure web interface and provides information on the extent of a patient’s arterial blockage and the impact the blockage has on blood flow to the heart.

This technology has been used for more than 100,000 patients with suspected heart disease and offers the highest diagnostic accuracy available from a non-invasive test. Additionally, in clinical trials, using the HeartFlow Analysis helped identify which patients do and do not need invasive treatment. The use of this technology also reduced the cost of care by 26 percent compared to usual care.

“The HeartFlow Analysis will help the cardiac team develop the most appropriate plan for a patient with coronary artery disease without the need for unnecessary and stressful procedures,” said Paul Korth, Cookeville Regional CEO. “This is game-changing technology that will be beneficial for both our patients and the organization.”

This test is only available with a cardiologist’s order. Visit to find a cardiologist for you.