The UK medical device company has initiated the joint study with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, and will start performing MCG scans – which generate a magnetic field map of the heart.
The company confirmed that the tests will be run on patients who fulfil National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for receiving an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).
Following the MCG scan, patients will then be assessed using the standard ICD follow-up procedure, set to take place over a 21-month period in order to record which patients ultimately received therapies from their ICD.
Currently, the majority of ICDs are implanted in patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction and are known to have a weakened heart, but research suggests “only around 10-15% of ICD recipients subsequently suffer a ventricular arrhythmia and receive a treatment from their ICD” explained Dr Tom Lachlan, research fellow in Cardiology at UHCW.
He continued, “This means that a significant number of patients deemed ‘at risk’ are implanted with ICDs which are never needed, and this can be severely detrimental to their overall health as well as being a costly undertaking for health services.”
Due to the current predicament, Dr Lachlan says that he is “excited by the potential of this study to more accurately predict which patients will develop a ventricular arrhythmia that requires therapy from the ICD, and therefore improve health outcomes for those at risk of SCD and enable health services to more efficiently allocate their resources.”
The company and University hope that correlations can be identified to further risk-stratify patients within a pool determined to be at risk of SCD under current guidelines, to enable physicians to prescribe defibrillators more accurately.