Posted on July 24, 2018 by staff

Unicorn health disrupter set to make NHS impact


A health tech disrupter valued at $1.5 billion expects to have a substantial impact on healthcare in the UK as it is fast-tracked into the NHS.

HeartFlow has pioneered technology which allows doctors to diagnose coronary artery disease without the traditional invasive surgery which can lead to bleeding, stroke, major blood vessel damage and other serious complications.

HeartFlow Analysis is being introduced into the UK’s public healthcare system through the Innovation and Technology Payment programme while it is also working with private hospitals.

Dr Leo Grady, 41, is SVP of engineering at the Silicon Valley-based company and leads its product development and technology R&D.

“I believe that HeartFlow will have a substantial impact on healthcare in the UK,” he told BusinessCloud. “We’d like to see it adopted in as many hospitals as possible.”

Coronary artery disease is responsible for more than 66,000 deaths each year in the UK and it is estimated that more than 2.7 million Brits currently live with the disease.

“The potential impact is enormous… given that coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death worldwide,” Grady continued.

“It is expected that HeartFlow Analysis will have a significant economic benefit to the UK’s healthcare system, largely due to the avoidance of unnecessary invasive tests.”

Using data from a standard cardiac CTA scan, HeartFlow first uses deep learning to extract a personalised 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries.

It then applies computational fluid dynamics to create an analysis of the impact that blockages have on blood flow. This helps clinicians diagnose coronary artery disease and develop treatment plans for individual patients.

“This technology not only helps speed up the diagnosis time, but also better utilises the valuable time of doctors, nurses and other health experts,” said Grady.

“We all believe that we can substantially improve healthcare by applying this personalised, data-driven technology.”

Founded in 2007, unicorn Heartflow has raised $467 million in funding to date and has more than 300 employees across North America, Europe and Asia.

Working with leading health providers in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan, this year it announced a partnership with Imperial College London to partner with their team of research experts and doctors in the areas of medical imaging and deep learning.