The National Health Service England (NHS) has unveiled a new technology called HeartFlow to quickly detect and treat people with suspected heart disease.

Offered as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, HeartFlow can convert a regular computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart into a three-dimensional (3D) image to enable detection of coronary heart disease in 20 minutes.

When compared to an angiogram, which is considered invasive and time-consuming, HeartFlow provides diagnosis and treatment five times faster.

Once diagnosed with the help of the 3D image, treatments such as surgery, medication or stents can be decided on for patients.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs or healthy lifestyle changes will be suggested for individuals with less serious cases, which will help the risk to be alleviated before it turns life-threatening.

NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: “The NHS Long Term Plan committed to cutting strokes, heart attacks and other major killers, as well as ensuring patients would benefit from cutting-edge therapies and techniques and HeartFlow is just the latest example of that.

“By rapidly improving the rate we diagnose and treat those with a heart condition we will save thousands of lives and ensure, as well as delivering the most successful vaccination programme in health service history, the NHS is able to deliver routine services even quicker than before the pandemic.”

Under the MedTech funding mandate policy, the new technology has been made available across the NHS network since last month.

NHS England innovation and life sciences director Matt Whitty said: “This latest innovation will help patients and will contribute to helping the NHS to recover from the pandemic as we continue to deliver on our ambitious Long Term Plan commitments to provide patients across the country with the most up to date tech, as quickly as possible.

“HeartFlow has been a huge success in clinical trials and will now help tens of thousands of people a year receive quick diagnosis and treatment and ultimately save lives.”

Last month, NHS England launched a twice-weekly Covid-19 testing campaign to help address the pandemic.