NHS bosses hope new AI software will be able to detect damage in heart scans in seconds, cutting cardiology waiting lists with a diagnosis delivered in just one minute
- AI software can reduce the time it takes to diagnose heart disease in patients
- It takes a doctor 20 minutes to detect complicated heart disease during a CT scan
- Researchers believe new software can provide diagnosis in just one minute
Artificial intelligence software is about to drastically reduce NHS cardiology waiting lists and give cardiac patients a faster diagnosis.
The program can perform complicated measurements in less than a minute that normally take doctors about 20 minutes.
Patients with heart problems usually have MRI scans to determine how enlarged the cavities of the organ are – a sign that it is under stress – and whether they will need invasive surgery or if they can be treated with medication.
The scan captures about ten different images of the heart, each from a slightly different angle, to create a complete picture.
The program can perform complicated measurements in less than a minute that normally take doctors around 20 minutes (file photo)
Doctors must then print these scans and carefully measure the size of the chambers by physically drawing on them. Most hospitals perform up to 20 of these lengthy assessments a day, and as each one takes around 20 minutes to scan, it can consume a significant chunk of a cardiologist’s time (file photo)
Doctors must then print these scans and carefully measure the size of the chambers by physically drawing on them.
Most hospitals perform up to 20 of these lengthy assessments a day, and since analyzing each one takes about 20 minutes, it can take up a significant amount of a cardiologist’s time.
The new software, called AI Segmentation and developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield Medical School, can do the job in less than 60 seconds.
Studies over three years of development have shown it to be highly effective and has already been deployed at Sheffield University Hospital.
“It’s extremely impressive technology,” says Dr Andrew Swift, a consultant radiologist at the hospital who helped develop the tool.
Experts say it could be a game-changer in an area of medicine that has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic.
According to the British Heart Foundation, more than 5,000 Britons with heart problems have been waiting for an appointment for 16 weeks or more – a level nine times higher than before the pandemic.
Dr Swift added: “It doesn’t seem fair that so much of doctors’ time is spent drawing on pictures, when machines can do this task.”
“This should be rolled out across the NHS as it will allow doctors to spend more time with patients, at a time when we desperately need to reduce the NHS backlog.”
The program has been recognized with a Medipex NHS Innovation Award for using AI to improve services and patient safety.