You’ve just returned from the ACC.19 in New Orleans. What were the main themes at the event?
BvM: There’s always a lot going on in cardiology, but the things that stood out for me at ACC.19 were the growing interest in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cardiac care, together with important study results in the area of population health management and, of course, new developments in image-guided minimally-invasive heart valve replacement. AI is really beginning to find traction, not just in radiology but also in other clinical areas. During ACC.19’s ‘Future Hub’ session, several entrepreneurs came up with exciting future possibilities for AI in cardiology. Several important study results were also announced at the event, including the results of a large-scale study on the use of consumer wearables to identify atrial fibrillation, and the potentially game-changing results of two clinical trials on the benefits and effectiveness of minimally-invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in younger healthier patients compared to open heart surgery. Those last results were particularly interesting for us, because Philips’ interventional imaging systems and navigation software helped to pioneer and grow TAVR procedures.
What did Philips showcase at ACC.19?
BvM: We showcased several new developments that demonstrate our ability to accelerate the pace of innovation, including our recently introduced Azurion with FlexArm system, which sets a new standard for patient imaging and positioning flexibility for image-guided procedures, and our SyncVision iFR co-registration technology, which allows physicians to identify and optimally treat the parts of a blood vessel causing ischemia. We also showcased IntelliSpace Cardiovascular 4.1, our next-generation cardiovascular image and information management system, and our EPIQ CVx cardiology ultrasound system, which helps to increase diagnostic confidence and simplify clinician workflows in cardiac care. Plus, we highlighted the results of the DEFINE-PCI study, which assessed the level of residual ischemia in patients after percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs).
What is the significance of the DEFINE-PCI study results?
BvM: This 500-patient, multicenter, blinded physiologic assessment study used Philips’ iFR pullback measurement technology to understand the rates and causes of residual ischemia (reduced blood flow) after a stent is placed. The study found that nearly one in four patients had residual ischemia after coronary stent implantation aimed at relieving severe blockages. In most cases, this was due to an untreated blockage not identified using X-ray angiography alone. Physiologic guidance tools such as Philips’ SyncVision iFR co-registration offer a simple solution for the detection of such blockages that integrates into existing workflows. It’s a great example of how Philips is combining image guidance, devices and smart intuitive software to deliver better cardiac care and improved patient outcomes.