Companies merge microvolt T-wave technology with stress testing

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Cardiac Science announced today it will combine microvolt T-wave alternans (MTWA) testing technology from Cambridge Heart with its Quinton Q-Stress cardiac stress systems.

MTWA is a beat-to-beat fluctuation in the amplitude of the T-wave at a microvolt level. The technology uses the Analytic Spectral Method to detect every-other-beat patterns unique to patients at increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

When an abnormality is detected, it indicates the presence of a type of cellular metabolic activity that frequently leads to tachyarrhythmias. MTWA testing is cleared by the FDA for its ability to predict ventricular tachyarrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

Studies have shown that MTWA testing has a high negative predictive value for the risk of sudden cardiac death. On July 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allowed MTWA tests performed during the same visit as a cardiac stress test to be fully reimbursable.

The new partnership allows the "MTWA technology to be marketed to a much broader number of cardiologists and internal medicine practices," said Ali Haghighi-Mood, president and CEO of the Tewksbury, Mass.-based Cambridge Heart.

He added that an estimated 10 to 12 million heart attack and heart failure patients in the U.S. alone could benefit from MTWA testing on an annual basis.

"The MTWA test is a clinically-proven reimbursable test and can be performed during standard stress test sessions," said Tony Titus, vice president of marketing for the Bothell, Wash.-based Cardiac Science. "It is the only test of its kind that Medicare will reimburse."

In July, Cambridge Heart enrolled its first patients into the MTWA-CAD (Evaluation of Microvolt T-Wave Alternans Testing for the Detection of Active Ischemia in Patients with Known or Suspected Coronary Artery Disease) trial. The study is designed to evaluate whether MTWA technology can augment current testing methods that depict ischemia, such as cardiac stress testing.