The NHS Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme went live on 1 April 2018. Four innovations will be fast-tracked into use through the programme, supported by the AHSN Network. One of these is HeartFlow.

HeartFlowInnovation type: diagnostic software

A physiology simulation solution used to create a personalised, digital 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries to simulate blood flow and assess the impact of blockages on coronary blood flow.

Challenge/problem identified

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of cardiovascular disease and the world’s number one killer. CAD affects more than 2.3 million people in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation. It often goes undetected or is misdiagnosed.

Clinicians diagnosing someone with suspected CAD want to know as definitively as possible if the individual has a significant blockage in their coronary arteries. They also want to know the impact of that blockage on blood flow so they can best determine the appropriate treatment pathway. This might include medical management, stenting or coronary artery bypass grafting or other treatment.

Until recently, the diagnosis of CAD was determined primarily by coronary angiography, an invasive and costly procedure. To avoid risks from cardiac catheterisation, many healthcare systems rely on stress testing as a gatekeeper for coronary angiography, but stress tests do not always deliver reliable results and often result in more testing or overuse of invasive procedures.

The solution

HeartFlow provides clinicians with a more efficient pathway for diagnosing CAD that combines simulation models and medical imaging data. The HeartFlow Analysis is backed by more than two decades of clinical research, started by the co-founders Doctors Charles Taylor and Chris Zarins at Stanford University, California.

The HeartFlow Analysis utilises data from a patient’s non-invasive coronary CT. Once the data is securely uploaded to the cloud, HeartFlow leverages deep learning and trained technicians to create a personalised, digital 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries. The HeartFlow Analysis then uses powerful computer algorithms to simulate blood flow and assess the impact of blockages on coronary blood flow.

The analysis is provided via a secure online interface, providing actionable information to enable clinicians to determine the best course of treatment.

HeartFlow animation


Learn more about the technology in this short animation.


The HeartFlow Analysis has been associated with improved patient outcomes as clinicians use the information to provide the right treatment to the right patient. Studies have also demonstrated that the technology positively impacts patients and providers by reducing the overuse of invasive diagnostic coronary angiography procedures, a common procedure that has risks including bleeding, stroke, major blood vessel damage and other serious complications.

Additionally, the HeartFlow Analysis also significantly reduces healthcare costs. According to the NICE cost-saving guidance, savings are anticipated as a result of a shift in cardiovascular testing. By increasing the number of people receiving coronary CTAs and reducing the number of people receiving invasive coronary angiography or other tests, the estimated savings for England is £17 million.

By incorporating the HeartFlow Analysis and avoiding unnecessary invasive coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary interventions, an additional £9.1 million may be saved.

Find out more

[email protected]

[email protected]

Please see HeartFlow flyer here.

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