Heart disease is the number one killer in America. As a result, medical science and technology advancements are critical to reducing the risk of heart-related deaths. Advancements in technology allow doctors to diagnose and treat heart disease using non-invasive procedures such as computerized tomography coronary angiogram CTAs. When combined with telehealth services, doctors can access cardiologists and specialists utilizing advanced telecardiology equipment.
Telecardiology utilizes advanced remote and digital technology to read and transmit heart data collected from Electrocardiograms and CTAs. The data is converted into sharable formats, facilitating specialist diagnoses without the need for patient travel.
Telecardiology also facilitates interaction between primary and secondary care, providing general practitioners and medical facilities the ability to reduce the number of appointments a patient requires. As well, through this remote process, facilities are empowered to handle more advanced medical problems. For example, your facility can diagnose arrhythmias and have input on proper management for patients suffering from chronic cardiovascular conditions. In the case of acute coronary syndromes, GPs can confirm proper diagnosis and treatment with the input of specialists greatly improving outcomes for both mortality and functional recovery rates.
Here is a comprehensive overview explaining everything you need to know about coronary CTAs and how they can benefit your medical facility when combined with telecardiology.
Everything to Know About Coronary CTAs
Recent advances in testing modalities such as coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) improve healthcare facilities’ diagnostic and prognostic capabilities. Studies show CTAs offer excellent sensitivity for detecting:
- Underlying CAD
- A sensitivity of 94% and 89% for a stenosis ≥70% and ≥50%, respectively
- A sensitivity of 96% to detect significant coronary stenoses in the setting of stable ischemic heart disease
Also, further studies show coronary CTA accurately quantifies coronary atherosclerosis, outperforming risk factors in predicting long-term cardiovascular outcomes. As a result, it could be the best approach to identify patients who will benefit from aggressive preventive medications in hand with lifestyle interventions. These Coronary CTA studies also found:
- Coronary CTA has been associated with reduced incident myocardial infarction (MI) in both acute and stable chest pain populations
- Stable chest pain patients who underwent coronary CTA were noted to have a 31% lower risk for MI
Additionally, “Coronary CTA improved diagnostic certainty for patients and providers regarding the etiology of the patient’s presenting symptoms (primary outcome), but also patients who underwent coronary CTA had a fourfold increase in the use of aspirin or statin therapy. The presence of high-risk plaque (positive remodeling, low computed tomography [CT] attenuation, or napkin ring sign) was associated with a significantly increased risk of major adverse cardiac events (adjusted hazard ratio 1.73; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-2.62), even after adjustment for risk factors and stenosis severity.
The prognostic importance of high-risk plaque was especially apparent among subjects with nonobstructive CAD on CTA (adjusted hazard ratio 4.31 vs. 2.64) among this low-intermediate risk cohort (33% with 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk <7.5%),” according to the American College of Cardiology Report “Coronary CTA Should Be the Initial Test in Most Patients With Stable Chest Pain: PRO”.
Telecardiology solutions support acute coronary syndrome care provided by emergency medical services. Your facility can obtain ECGs and CTAs during the pre-hospital period to improve your pre-hospital diagnostic accuracy of conditions including AMI, angina or non-ischemic chest pain.
Once a patient is in-hospital, telecardiology is the best tool for small hospitals or medical facilities without the expertise to diagnose heart issues accurately. You can communicate with the closest major hospital in the area to improve and confirm CTA and ECG diagnoses during intensive care, emergency room and newborn scenarios. It also allows your facility to access urgent diagnosis in off hours such as overnights so you can assess:
- Ventricular Function
- Pericardial Effusion
- Valvular Disease
- Heart Donor Status
When live interpretations are shared, your team can make real-time decisions to save lives. You can shorten reporting times using live transmission of CTAs to make immediate decisions on the most effective management. This includes confirming the requirement to transport emergency patients to the nearest facility with the means to provide the required care.
Teleconsulting between your team and specialists is critical to patients released from the hospital. In these cases, the input of specialists will ensure patients with cardiac disease benefit from valuable second-opinion consultations to avoid visits to major city centers and ambulatory visits. Your team can better manage chronic conditions or systemic hypertension with an early diagnosis with the help of coronary CTAs and ECGs followed by real-time therapeutic interventions personalized for your patient’s needs. As a result, patients can see improvements in their condition and/or recovery with reduced subsequent referrals to specialists and hospital admissions.
Home Telemedicine Care
If you have patients with chronic heart failure requiring a multidisciplinary approach, telemedicine can help reduce the need for hospitalization, specialty facility visits, and referrals to specialists. As a result, patients lower the cost of their medical care while also improving their quality of life. This integrated approach involves all stakeholders, including the patient and their family members, providing in-home care. Your GPs receive remote consultations with specialized real-time coronary experts who read CTA and ECG transmissions. They can share your physiological data and identify biological signals, so action is taken as a preventative measure.
Further Applications of Telecardiology
Utilizing telemonitoring equipment provides long-term patient care as part of more complex heart disease management programs. As a key part of new, more involved multi-disciplinary management, this form of home-based intervention is key to avoiding readmission or reducing hospital stay length. Monitoring chronic cardiac patients can be combined with home telemedicine care, especially in cases of chronic heart failure. This can include:
- Diagnosis for Arrhythmias
- Monitoring of pacemakers and implantations of cardioverter defibrillators
Because palpitation can result from a substantial cardiac arrhythmia, telemonitoring can help collect data to determine the case. As well Holter monitors and other instruments such as trans telephonic event recorders can also contribute data ready for analysis by remote specialists.
A combination of data provides accurate data allowing specialists to look for unpredictable abnormalities, such as tachyarrhythmias, that require the patient to change their pacemaker mode. Through remote monitoring, both improper patient use of devices and issues related to their response to treatment are detected sooner to avoid the need for traveling.
For any questions or more information, contact Specialist Direct today.