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Chinese firm launches cheaper, faster device to diagnose heart problems

By Liu Zhihua | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-08-06 15:41
A new medical device "AngioPlus system", a first of its kind to be approved by Chinese health authorities, was officially launched in the market on Aug 4, 2018, its manufacturer Pulse Medical Imaging Technology (Shanghai) Co announced in Beijing. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A new medical device "AngioPlus system", a first of its kind to be approved by Chinese health authorities, was officially launched in the market on Saturday, its manufacturer Pulse Medical Imaging Technology (Shanghai) Co announced in Beijing.

The device will increase accuracy of coronary artery blockage and function assessment in China to improve treatment, while reducing patients' economic burden and health risk, leading medical experts said.

"The device is a breakthrough for improving coronary heart disease treatment," said Gao Runlin, a cardiologist and academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"It does not use expensive disposable materials or requires patients to inject drugs, and measures fast."

Coronary heart disease, a condition in which the heart's blood supply is narrowed or blocked due to build-up of plaque in the coronary artery, is one of the leading causes of heart disease and death in China and the globe.

According to 2017 Chinese cardiovascular disease report, China has 11 million people suffering from coronary heart disease.

Jointly developed by the company and a group of researchers with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the system evaluates coronary artery blockage and function with an innovative noninvasive technology called quantitative flow ratio (QFR), based on a 3D reconstruction of the narrowed vessel rendered from two angiographic projections and blood dynamic equations.

The company claimed QFR increases the diagnosis accuracy by 33 percent compared with conventional coronary angiography, a commonly used method in China that helps doctors decide whether a patient needs to have surgical and interventional heart procedures.

Compared with fractional flow reserve (FFR), the internationally recognized golden practice in assessing coronary artery blockage and function, QFR is as accurate, but safer and cheaper, experts said.

FFR, monopolized by foreign companies, uses a thin pressure wire to measure blood pressure and flow through a specific part of the coronary artery, and such wires cost about 10,000 yuan ($1,465) each, making it too costly for common people in China, said Xu Bo, a leading cardiologist in China.

FFR is also time consuming, and patients often suffer discomfort from adenosine injected during the procedure, he said.

QFR has already obtained authorities' approval to be commercialized in China and the European Union earlier this year.

Pulse Medical has licensed Medis Medical Imaging BV, a cardiovascular images software provider headquartered in Leiden, Holland, to market and sell the device outside China.

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