Our value proposition

The problem

Heart attack is the #1 cause of death globally

Approximately 18 million people died from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in 2016. That represents 31% of all global deaths, and makes CVD the number 1 cause of death globally.1

Of those deaths, 85% or around 15.2M, are due to the combination of heart attack and stroke1.

Unstable coronary plaques are the major cause of heart attack 2,3

Coronary artery disease is a build-up of plaque (fatty deposits) in the wall of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The plaque can restrict blood flow and if unstable, can rupture and cause occlusion of the artery and a heart attack.

The gold standard for diagnosing or monitoring coronary artery disease is coronary angiography. This technique involves the injection of radio-opaque dye into the coronary arteries via a cardiac catheter, with real-time x-rays taken to show the dye passing through the arteries. Coronary artery disease (coronary “plaques” or “stenoses”) can be visualised as a narrowing of the dye-filled artery.

However whilst angiography can detect the presence and the degree of stenosis of coronary disease, it nor any other current test can accurately determine whether an area of stenosis or “plaque” is stable or unstable.

Treatment of coronary artery disease

Typically, a stent will be deployed when a plaque is narrowing the artery by more than 70% because those plaques are considered dangerous due to the high level of blood flow restriction they create. But for plaques causing less than 70% narrowing, a stent is not used because there is not sufficient blood flow restriction to warrant it.

For plaques causing <70% narrowing, some are “stable” and can be treated with a conservative medication and lifestyle change program. However, unstable plaques are vulnerable to rupture and occlusion of the artery resulting in heart attack and/or death. Unstable plaques are the major cause of heart attack and if detected, the plaque and patient may be treated more aggressively to prevent major adverse events. Until now, there has not been an accurate way to determine if a plaque is unstable and should be treated even if it causes less than a 70% narrowing of the artery.

Nirtek’s NIRAF technology will solve that problem.