By using data from an angiogram as well as a Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR), it is possible to avoid an angioplasty or bypass surgery in cases, a study led by interventional cardiologist G. Sengottuvelu reveals.

In his study, a total of 59 patients and 81 blocked blood vessels were studied. In many of these cases, when only an angiogram was done, it would have resulted in many of the patients undergoing an angioplasty or a bypass surgery. Through the procedure, doctors managed to reduce the number of stents used by 42 per cent and reduced the number of surgeries by 50 per cent, Dr. Sengottuvelu, an interventional cardiologist with Apollo Hospitals, told presspersons on Wednesday.

FFR involves inserting a coronary pressure guide wire into the artery to measure the blood flow through the blocked area to help determine whether or not a patient needs a stent. The pressure guide wire measures the pressure in the locations before and after the block.

It measures the maximum blood flowing through the block versus the maximum blood that would flow through the blood vessel if it did not have a block. These parameters can determine whether the block can be treated with only medication, he said.

Although FFR has been around for the past two-and-a-half years in India, there have not been many studies done on whether it is useful in the Indian scenario. It is only recently that insurance companies have also started accepting the FFR procedure. s

Speaking of costs, he said, a new FFR wire would cost Rs. 25,000 and could be reused twice or thrice. In contrast, a stent costs Rs. 2.5 lakh, while a bypass surgery costs much more, he said.

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