Fractional Flow Reserve

Fractional Flow Reserve is a test that is done to compares the blood flow on either side of a blockage in your coronary artery.

January 9, 2023

Fractional Flow Reserve is a test that is done to compares the blood flow on either side of a blockage in your coronary artery.

Some facts about Fractional Flow Reserve:

  • Your health care provider will be able to know how severe the narrowing (stenosis) is in your artery by Fractional Flow Reserve.
  • The blood pressure and flow in your coronary arteries will be checked during the procedure.
  • The highest possible blood flow you can have with and without a blockage can be compared by the health care provider.
  • Fractional flow reserve test is done as part of a cardiac catheterization of your heart's left side or during a coronary angiogram which help decide the type of treatment you need.
  • A fractional flow reserve test is performed by a cardiologist.
  • An instrument is used to take blood pressure readings on both sides of a blockage inside your coronary artery. 
  • These readings are used by the equipment to calculate your fractional flow reserve.

Preparation for Fractional Flow Reserve:

  • You should informed your healthcare provider if you have ever had a reaction to any contrast dye, or if you are allergic to iodine.
  • You should also informed your healthcare provider if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medicines, latex, tape, or anesthetic agents (local and general).
  • You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.
  • Inform your healthcare provider of all medicines including prescribed and over-the-counter and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Your healthcare provider should be informed about any history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medicines, aspirin, or other medicines that affect blood clotting as it may be necessary for you to stop these medicines several days before your test..
  • A blood test may be done before the procedure to determine how long it takes your blood to clot.

Procedure for Fractional Flow Reserve:

  • The fractional flow reserve assessment will take less than an hour. 
  • However, it will take additional time if your provider decides to do an angioplasty and put in a stent.
  • A local anesthetic will be injected into your skin and a needle will be inserted in your arm, neck or groin.
  • The needle will be used to thread a catheter into your artery.
  • The catheter will be advanced through arteries to get to your aorta and then your coronary arteries, which come out of your aorta.
  • Fluoroscopy (X-ray) will be used that helps your provider see where the catheter is going.
  • Liquid contrast media will be injected through the catheter and into your coronary arteries to make them easier to see.
  • Blockages in your coronary arteries will be checked.
  • An ultrasound device will be used  on the catheter to look at your blood flow.
  • Heparin and nitroglycerin will be given before moving a pressure wire into the narrow area.
  • The pressure sensors of the catheter will be used to check the pressure on either side of the narrow part in your coronary artery
  • This will be checked when blood flow is at its highest for an accurate measurement. 
  • An angioplasty and stent placement in your coronary artery will be performed if you need it.
  • Your FFR will be checked again after completing the angioplasty and putting in a stent.
  • The catheter will be removed and pressure will be put on your access site.