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by Sofia Villegas
13 June 2024
Scottish university to ‘revolutionise’ heart procedures

New computational tools to improve heart disease treatment | Alamy

Scottish university to ‘revolutionise’ heart procedures

A Scottish university will lead an international project to combat the most common type of cardiovascular disease.

The University of Glasgow will lead a new site for PCI - percutaneous coronary intervention planning - supported by institutions from the US to Italy.

PCI is one of the most effective treatments for the blockage of heart arteries, responsible for 16 per cent of the world’s annual deaths.

It introduces a scaffolding stent device or balloon to unblock arteries, which then also delivers drugs to help prevent arteries from narrowing in the future.  

North of the border, coronary heart disease, which is caused by the blockage of arteries, is responsible for around 20 deaths per day, according to research by the British Heart Foundation. At a UK level, the rate rises to almost 200 a day.

Currently, however, doctors have limited tools to guide them on how best to treat the condition and to predict whether the PCI will be successful for an individual patient.

Consequently, more than a quarter of patients in the UK need repeat heart treatments, putting them at risk of heart attacks, and stretching healthcare services.

The new tools would analyse images of arteries to create a more complete picture of plaque buildup, allowing doctors to better visualise each stage of PCI procedures, and predict outcomes.

This would “significantly” cut the number of repeat PCI procedures and deliver better results for patients, making “a big difference” to healthcare budgets in the future, Sean McGinty, who is project’s principal investigator, said.

“The centre aims to revolutionise the way in which procedures are undertaken, by developing computational tools that enable the tailoring of the procedure for each individual patient”, McGinty added.

The team will also power the tools with artificial intelligence to try cut computer processing costs.

The site will be funded by a £1.25m sum from the UKRI - UK Research and Innovation - Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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