Health: how artificial intelligence can predict a heart attack years in advance

By very precisely analyzing routine medical images, artificial intelligence can detect abnormalities invisible to the naked eye and prevent a heart attack. A predictive technique that would make medicine more effective and less expensive.

Artificial intelligence can save lives. British researchers have developed an algorithm that can predict the risk of a heart attack several years before it strikes. The startup carist diagnosticsfrom the University of Oxford, has indeed developed a tool which has just obtained marketing authorization in Europe and which is beginning to be deployed in British hospitals, capable of determining 8 to 10 years in advance if a patient is at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

The algorithm analyzes routine medical images, such as a CT scan of the heart, with an impressive level of precision and depth and will look for signs of inflammation of the blood vessels in and around the heart, elements that are normally invisible to the naked eye.

Saving lives with preventive measures

In a study of 4,000 patients followed for 9 years, researchers found that at least a third of patients who were considered low risk after their routine examination were in fact at high risk of having a heart attack once that the analysis of the algorithm had been applied to them. This in-depth diagnosis could thus save many lives by allowing patients, as soon as they are diagnosed, to take preventive measures, such as changing their diet or taking medication.

The use of artificial intelligence is a fundamental trend in the field of health. More predictive than before, medicine is thus becoming more effective and less costly. However, there remains a risk: that of creating hypochondriacs.

Analyze the sound of a patient’s voice

Another way to detect a heart attack: analyze the sound of a patient’s voice. This technique was developed by Corti, a Danish start-up. The algorithm will start each time a person calls for help and the artificial intelligence will work in the background, analyzing everything the person says, much like a very advanced voice assistant.

The key words used, the language, the sound patterns, the noisy breathing and all the clues that may suggest that the person is having a heart attack are taken into account. The goal is to react as effectively as possible, because in these cases, every second counts. The machine recognizes a heart attack by phone in 95% of cases.

For its part, Google is working on a project to detect the risk of heart attack by looking at your eyes. From a scan of the eye, and more precisely of the blood vessels inside the eye, the machine will be able to deduce the patient’s age, blood pressure, whether or not he smokes, and the likelihood of having a heart attack.

AI will transform the role of the doctor

But artificial intelligence is not likely to make doctors disappear. When we say that AI is “better” than human doctors, this does not mean that it will replace them, but that the role of the doctor will change. AI will be able to do mass screening and the doctor will focus on complex cases, treatment and the relationship with the patient, which no machine is able to do. The future is in man/machine collaboration.

In this area, France has a card to play with, for example Cardiologists, which has developed an artificial intelligence capable of reading electrocardiograms to detect certain diseases such as cardiac arrhythmia in an extremely precise manner. We must not miss the turn and it is now that it is played.

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Health: how artificial intelligence can predict a heart attack years in advance


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