Dutch Hospital Uses Non-invasive Tool to Diagnose PH in Sarcoidosis Patients Early

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by Santiago Gisler |

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Doctors in the Netherlands are using the VMS Heart Analysis System, developed by Ventripoint Diagnostics, for early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in sarcoidosis patients.

Approximately 500 patients with sarcoidosis have been tested, using the VMS Heart Analysis System for detecting PH at an early stage. Marco Post, MD, PhD, and Marloes Huitema, MD, at the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein/Utrecht, have diagnosed almost 20 patients with this tool.

Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by granulomas (inflammation) of multiple organs, including the heart, lungs and lymph nodes. The cause is unknown. The condition affects around 50,000 people every year in the U.S., and 150,000 to 200,000 people are estimated to have chronic sarcoidosis.

Depending on reports and location, PH occurs in 6% to 74% of sarcoidosis patients. Sarcoidosis-associated PH is recognized as a serious complication that can be fatal. For this reason, early accurate PH diagnosis is needed for proper disease management.

To date, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the gold standard when examining the right ventricle of a patient’s heart. However, the approach is expensive and unavailable for many patients.

In contrast, the VMS Heart Analysis System is a fast, inexpensive, and non-invasive alternative to the MRI, and other current approaches.

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The VMS creates a so-called three-dimensional volumetric reconstruction model of the heart. In essence, the system uses 2-D ultrasound to measure small, but significant, volume and functional changes in the heart over time.

“The right heart is difficult to assess, and in patients with pulmonary disease, this challenge is even more difficult,” Huitema said in a press release. “Ventripoint provides a solution that allows us to overcome these barriers and might be an alternative to MRI, which is costly, time-consuming, and not possible for all patients.”

The cardiologists now plan to continue monitoring the hearts of sarcoidosis-PH patients using the system, hoping to better understand disease progression.

“[I]n those patients with pulmonary hypertension, the Ventripoint technology gives us an ability to repeatedly evaluate the right-ventricular dimensions with a rapid, inexpensive, non-invasive procedure to determine therapeutic efficacy,” Huitema said.

Ventripoint received market clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell the VMS Heart Analysis System in the U.S. in May.