Heart attack predictions made by AI-powered tool

March 23, 2022
Heart attack predictions made by AI-powered tool

A heart attack is caused by buildup of plaque along the walls of the arteries of the heart, causing it to narrow and the cardiac muscle to overwork to pump blood. There is a diagnostic test available called a coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) that takes 3D images of the heart and arteries, however, it its not automated nor simple to produce results.

Bearing that in mind, medical scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-based tool to predict a person’s likelihood of having a heart attack by measuring visible plaque from CTA images. The AI algorithm was built from CTA images that were already analysed by trained doctors: it first outlines the coronary arteries in 3D images, then identifies blood and plaque deposits within the coronary arteries.

Dr. Damini Dey, Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Director of the quantitative image analysis lab in the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai, and colleagues compared CTA images from the AI algorithm to another set of CTA images from almost 1,200 people from five different countries including Japan and Scotland.

The tool’s measurements were found to correspond with plaque amounts seen in coronary CTAs. They also matched results with images taken by two invasive tests – intravascular ultrasound and catheter-based coronary angiography – considered to be highly accurate in assessing coronary artery plaque and narrowing.

In addition, measurements made by the AI algorithm from CTA images accurately predicted heart attack risk within five years for 1,611 people who were part of the SCOT-HEART (Scottish Computed Tomography of the HEART) trial.

“[…] now we can use this program to quantify plaque from CTA images in five to six seconds,” said Dr. Dey. “More studies are needed, but it’s possible we may be able to predict if and how soon a person is likely to have a heart attack based on the amount and composition of the plaque imaged with this standard test.”

Read: Higher risk of heart failure and stroke even after COVID-19 recovery

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Category: Education, Features

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