Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is the First Hospital in Tennessee to Adopt New Cardiac Technology

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(KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, June 2024)Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a member of Knoxville-based Covenant Health, was the first hospital in Tennessee to adopt revolutionary diagnostic technology that provides clinicians with a heart patient’s physiology results in just a few minutes while improving the patient experience.

Coronary heart disease is one of the top killers of adults in the U.S. and particularly the Southeast. Quick diagnosis and intervention are key to treating cardiac patients who are suffering from heart disease, heart attack, or other events causing blockages in arteries that can be life-threatening.

Fort Sanders Regional’s cardiac catheterization lab is staffed around the clock, 24/7, treating both heart patients who have been admitted to the hospital and those who are having outpatient procedures.

When a patient presents with a potential artery blockage, the heart team at Fort Sanders Regional can use a new tool that shows doctors exactly what percentage of an artery is blocked. The CathWorks FFRangio® System is a computer-based technology that uses routine angiograms (images) of a patient’s heart structure to create a 3D model showing the location and degree of any blockages and their coronary arteries. This helps providers more quickly diagnose and intervene as needed, including determining whether the patient needs a stent and where the stent should be placed in the heart structure.

Fractional flow reserve (FFR) is a diagnostic measurement that evaluates the physiologic impact of coronary arterial narrowing due to cholesterol plaque. It is an important measurement for the decision-making process to decide if a stent placement is indicated and the length of the stent when managing patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). While FFR is an important diagnostic tool supported by strong clinical evidence, the traditional process for measuring FFR requires invasive pressure wires and drug stimulation, which can expose the patient to risk of damage to the blood vessel.

Josh Todd, MD, interventional cardiologist,
Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

In contrast to traditional FFR, the FFRangio System combines artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computational science to obtain quick and reliable FFRangio values from routine angiograms, thus eliminating the need for drug stimulation and invasive pressure wires. The system provides physicians with intraprocedural FFRangio values for all coronary arteries.

Josh Todd, MD, interventional cardiologist at Fort Sanders Regional, was integral in launching the system at the hospital, where the heart team used the innovative tool for approximately 20 patients in the first month of implementation. He emphasizes that the care team does not rely on technology alone. They use AI to enhance their expertise and training to determine next steps in each patient’s case.

“With this new tool, interventional cardiologists can perform clinical assessments quicker, more comprehensively, without medications, and in a way that’s seamless and more efficient to the patient,” said Dr. Todd. “This cutting-edge technology will transform how cardiovascular disease is diagnosed and treated by helping determine exactly if and where a stent needs to be placed, allowing for more objective information for the accurate placement of stents.”

Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Sanders Regional, said, “As healthcare providers, it’s our job to put the patients first in everything we do. The implementation of this technology in our cardiac cath lab is a sign of forward-thinking and speaks to our ongoing commitment to quality patient care. I’m very proud that Fort Sanders Regional was the first in the state to offer this tool for our heart care teams and heart patients.”

FSR Cath Lab CathWorks FFRangio Image

For more information on Fort Sanders Regional services, visit our website.

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About Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is a member of Covenant Health, a not-for-profit healthcare delivery system serving East Tennessee and the surrounding region. Located in downtown Knoxville, it is a 541-bed medical center with an array of medical services, including neurology, orthopedics, oncology, cardiology, obstetrics and rehabilitation medicine. It is certified by The Joint Commission and CARF as a Comprehensive Stroke and Rehabilitation Center and holds several accreditations in cardiology, hip, knee and spine surgeries and bariatrics. It is a Pulmonary Hypertension Center of Excellence and has been awarded for its maternity care. For more information, visit FSRegional.com.

About Covenant Health

Covenant Health is a Tennessee-based healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. As a not-for-profit health system, we are dedicated to being the region’s premier healthcare network through service, community and innovation. We provide patient-centered care that inspires clinical and service excellence and strive to be the first and best choice for our patients, employees, physicians, employers, volunteers and communities. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers. Learn more at CovenantHealth.com.

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Covenant Health

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Covenant Health is a community-owned, healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers.

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