Saint Thomas Health: First in Tennessee to implement artificial intelligence technology for heart disease patients

NASHVILLE  Saint Thomas Health is the first health system in Tennessee to implement a new medical technology that uses artificial intelligence to transform the way heart disease is diagnosed and treated. The technology, called HeartFlow, allows clinicians to use a resting coronary CT scan on a patient to create a personalized 3D model of their heart to better evaluate the impact a blockage has on blood flow and determine the best treatment for patients. The test results in a color-coded map that aids clinicians in determining, vessel-by-vessel, if sufficient blood is reaching the heart.

“We are excited to continue to expand the innovative services offered at Saint Thomas Heart, from advanced technology to minimally invasive procedures,” said Fahad Tahir, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Midtown and West Hospitals. “Experience and outcomes matter when choosing a hospital for heart care, and we are proud to continue Saint Thomas Heart’s long tradition of excellent cardiac care, as one of the nation’s most innovative and comprehensive heart programs.”

In the United States, many patients who are sent for invasive coronary angiography do not ultimately have any clinically meaningful obstruction of coronary blood flow. The use of HeartFlow greatly reduces unnecessary invasive heart catherization, allowing for improved recovery time and quality of life for patients. The use of HeartFlow can also reduce patient costs compared to the usual testing for patients with suspected coronary artery disease.

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a diagnostic test that has been available for many years now and allows for imaging of the coronary arteries to identify coronary artery disease. Until recently, this anatomic data by itself has been somewhat difficult to interpret. HeartFlow is a novel artificial intelligence-based software application that allows for advanced computer modeling of the coronary arteries, and provides a functional assessment of coronary artery disease that is identified on CCTA studies. CCTA with HeartFlow can provide clinicians and patients with both anatomic and functional data regarding their coronary arteries.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to be the first hospital in Nashville and in Tennessee to offer this advanced heart imaging technology to our patients,” said Dr. Andrew Zurick, cardiologist with Saint Thomas Heart. “Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in United States. Identification of coronary artery atherosclerotic disease is an important first step but knowing how best to manage patients can be a complicated process.  HeartFlow can help patients avoid unnecessary invasive procedures and can help clinicians better identify patients in need of treatment.”

Saint Thomas Heart is the cardiac division of Saint Thomas Health, offering complete cardiac services from the treatment of chest pain to minimally invasive heart surgery and the latest in structural heart procedures. With over 60 cardiac specialists and over 40 regional sites throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, including Tennessee’s largest network of accredited Chest Pain Centers, Saint Thomas Heart offers its patients the comprehensive expertise that comes with treating more heart patients than any other medical facility in Tennessee. Saint Thomas Heart is one of the most experienced cardiovascular medicine programs in the nation. For more than 40 years, Saint Thomas Heart cardiologists and surgeons have treated patients with the latest in cutting-edge therapies–procedures ranging from remote heart-failure monitoring, robotic assisted minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, and surgical and catheter-based valve repair and replacement to mechanical heart pumps and cardiac transplantation.


In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates.  Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $127 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2018.  Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.  Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Visit

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