Evaluating patients who may have coronary artery disease (CAD) is a challenging and extensive process. With an array of testing options and possible results, finding a method that is accurate, cost-effective, and as uninvasive as possible helps patients achieve a higher quality of life during the testing process. In a recent study, Mark Hlatky, a professor of medince and of Health Research and Policy, and his co-authors assessed a new evaluation method, fractional flow reserve (FFR), which may improve patients' quality of life and decrease costs while testing for CAD.
Using data collected in the PLATFORM (Prospective Longitudinal Trial of FFR: Outcomes and Resource Impacts) study, Hlatky et al. compared traditional invasive and noninvasive testing methods with techniques using FFR. Procedure costs and quality of life for patients were compared at the time of testing, then again 90 days after testing was completed.
The authors concluded that testing strategies using FFR were "associated with lower use of medical resources and significantly lower costs compared with a strategy of invasive coronary angiography." When testing with FFR, less than half the normal rate of more invasive procedures were needed. Their findings suggest that combining FFR strategies with more traditional methods could decrease the need for invasive procedures, saving money and improving quality of life for patients.