AngioDefender, developed by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Everist Health, was launched in Canada just in time for Heart Month in February.
The integrated diagnostic device combines electronic sensor technology with a software algorithm to help physicians quickly and cost-effectively assess the presence of early-stage cardiovascular disease (CVD), possibly years before a patient presents symptoms. A companion Vascular Age Calculator tool further engages and encourages patients to lead healthier lives before irreversible CVD damage occurs.
Not yet commercially available in the United States, the AngioDefender system is approved for use in more than 30 countries, and was recently approved by Health Canada. It is distributed in Ontario by Closing the Gap Healthcare.
An automated system designed to produce an accurate CVD risk score within minutes, the simple, painless and non-invasive AngioDefender test measures the health of a patient’s endothelium — the blood vessels’ single-cell-thick interior lining. Using a process called Flow-Mediated Dilation (%FMD), the device runs a series of inflations and deflations in order to analyze the endothelium’s response to increased blood flow. By combining the principles of blood pressure, pulse wave analysis, and a proprietary data algorithm, AngioDefender produces a unique %FMD score, potentially identifying CVD risk in otherwise asymptomatic people and motivating health behavior changes in higher risk groups.
Formed two years ago by combining the assets, product portfolios, and capabilities of Genetics Squared Inc. and Angiologix, the personalized medicine company Evarist emphasized that while endothelial testing’s clinical value has been demonstrated as a key biomarker of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease, current diagnostic testing methods are costly, difficult, and complex to use.
For example, the Brachial Artery Ultrasound (BAUI) requires access to expensive ultrasound equipment and a specialized ultrasound probe, with results dependent on the skill of the operator, and interpretation potentially varying from one user to the next.
On the other hand, the AngioDefender system test yields all the advantages of BAUI, but removes the technique’s cost, training, and repeatability challenges. By being portable, AngioDefender can also be placed in many healthcare environments in both urban and rural locations.
The Vascular Age Calculator (VAC) is a user-friendly tool for assessing vascular health, which may impact an individual’s future risk of developing CVD. Because the risk for CVD normally increases with age, vascular age is calculated by considering the subject’s age plus additional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors that may be reversible, and determining the equivalent age of a person of the same gender having no additional CV risk factors.
“For a health professional to be able to measure vascular health in such a simple, straightforward way is truly novel,” said Dr. Neville Suskin, medical director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program and a Lawson Health Research Institute scientist at St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario, in a press release.
Suskin has been using the AngioDefender in clinical trials for 15 months in a Closing the Gap Healthcare Group release.
Closing the Gap Healthcare, the largest interdisciplinary healthcare service provider in Ontario, also operating in Nova Scotia, employs nearly 2,000 regulated healthcare professionals, offering community and clinic-based healthcare services in homes, schools, workplaces, long-term care homes, hospitals, and clinics.
Closing the Gap explained that as we age, our blood vessels may become clogged and damaged, restricting blood flow and resulting in CVD. At the same time, blood vessels become less flexible, increasing risk of strokes and heart attacks. CVD is responsible for nearly one of every three deaths annually, yet most people won’t show any symptoms before their first heart attack. However, unlike most chronic diseases, if CVD is identified early enough, cardiovascular health can be improved and reversed.
“Until now, the gold standard tool was ultrasound but it’s not regularly used in clinical practice because it’s costly and takes substantial expertise to operate,” Suskin said. “Our team has found that the AngioDefender is feasible to use in a busy cardiac rehabilitation practice setting. It doesn’t take long and patients are keen to learn what the machine has to say about their vascular health.”
“The AngioDefender test takes less than 20 minutes, but it could enable you to add another 20 years to your life,” said Yianni Soumalias, director of business development at Closing the Gap Healthcare.
The AngioDefender test is currently available from Closing the Gap Healthcare throughout Ontario at clinics in Toronto, Mississauga, London and Windsor, and plans are to have testing available across Canada in coming months. A doctor’s referral is not required. To schedule a test at a Greater Toronto Area (GTA) clinic, visit http://closingthegap.ca/angiodefender.