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NICE guidance supports use of device to improve the outcome of heart bypass graft surgery

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, today (16 November) issues positive guidance on the use of a device that can help improve the outcome of a particular type of heart surgery. The medical technology guidance supports the NHS using VeriQ, a system that assesses blood flow through a graft during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Using VeriQ can help both patients and the NHS by reducing problems during and after surgery, reducing the number of repeat operations needed, and saving the NHS money.

CABG surgery is performed to treat heart disease where the major coronary arteries have become narrowed or blocked. A blood vessel is taken from another part of the patient's body and used to ‘bypass' the affected section of artery by attaching it above and below the blockage or narrowing. The new section of blood vessel is called a graft.

The VeriQ system uses ultrasound with specially designed external probes to measure the blood flow through the graft vessel during surgery. It helps clinicians to identify imperfections in the graft, such as the vessel becoming blocked during the procedure, which can then be corrected during the same operation. The manufacturer claims that if the VeriQ system is used, the expected lower incidence of complications will reduce hospital stay for some patients, as well as cutting the number of repeat procedures. Using the VeriQ system during CABG procedures benefits patients by reducing their risk of suffering early graft failure, serious medical complications or even death.

In producing medical technology guidance, the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee (MTAC), looks at whether a device offers benefits to the patient and NHS at a lower cost compared with similar products, or increased benefits for equal cost. The cost saving associated with using VeriQ is estimated to be £115 per patient.

Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE said: “We're pleased to issue this guidance supporting the use of the VeriQ system for assessing graft flow during coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The independent NICE committee, MTAC, was convinced by evidence showing that the VeriQ system appears to offer potential benefits to both patients and the NHS, by improving the outcome of heart bypass graft surgery, reducing complications and reducing the length of hospital stays.

“Given the significant number of procedures performed each year, if the VeriQ system is implemented as expected, this could result in the NHS realistically saving an estimated £1.4 million each year. The Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme aims to help enable new medical technologies, or innovative modifications to existing ones, to be used more quickly and consistently in the NHS across England. We hope that this new guidance will encourage health professionals providing coronary artery bypass graft surgery to adopt the VeriQ system.”

More information on the medical technology guidance “The VeriQ system for assessing graft flow during coronary artery bypass graft surgery” is available from Wednesday 16 November

Ends

Notes to Editors

About the guidance

1. The cost saving associated with use of VeriQ, compared with clinical assessment, is estimated to be £115 per patient, when the system is used routinely for assessing coronary artery bypass grafts during surgery.

Using more recent figures for hospital activity, the cost saving per procedure is estimated to be £147. Expected implementation is estimated to be at around 50%. Approximately 22,500 isolated CABG surgeries are performed in the UK each year.

2. NICE implementation and costings support information is available on the published guidance page.

3. The VeriQ system is manufactured by MediStim ASA.

4. The cost of the VeriQ system is: VeriQ 2011 console (£32,000), PS probe (£1582), and annual maintenance costs (£1800) payable at the end of year two.

About the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme

5. Established by NICE in 2009, the focus of this new area of work is specifically on the evaluation of innovative medical technologies, including devices and diagnostics. The types of products which might be included are medical devices that deliver treatment such as those implanted during surgical procedures, technologies that give greater independence to patients, and diagnostic devices or tests used to detect or monitor medical conditions. The independent Medical Technology Advisory Committee has two core remits: selecting medical technologies for evaluation by NICE guidance programmes and also developing medical technologies guidance itself. The guidance applies to the NHS in England, and is not mandatory.

More information on medical technologies

About NICE

6. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

7. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

8. NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients

9. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.

This page was last updated: 15 November 2011

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.