Artificial Intelligence in Cardiac Imaging: How AI Improves the Accuracy and Efficiency of Diagnosing Heart Conditions

Published - March 19, 2024 06:08 pm IST

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving field with a massive presence and applications in numerous industries, such as education, manufacturing, finance, e-commerce, transportation, cybersecurity, and even healthcare. In healthcare, AI can analyze data a lot faster than humans do, maintain records perform other routine tasks, and assist with surgeries and imaging tests. This post focuses on AI in cardiac imaging and discusses its accuracy and effectiveness in diagnosing cardiovascular diseases. 

AI in cardiac imaging efficacy and accuracy 

Artificial intelligence can revolutionize cardiac imaging and make it easier to diagnose heart conditions. Various studies and papers have been published on this subject. One of the most recent papers was published in May 2023 in the British Institute of Radiology Open, and it explained the main objective for AI algorithms would be to embed them into the routine cardiac image analysis and reporting software. This would allow for performing measurements and calculating risk scores in real-time. As a result, AI algorithms could act as clinical decision-support tools for physicians.

The abovementioned paper discussed applications of AI in the following areas of cardiac CT:

  • Coronary artery calcium scoring CT: AI-enabled CAC scoring can decrease the workload of physicians and technicians while improving the clinical workflow. In a different study, the machine learning (ML) model enabled in the CAC score exhibited a strong correlation with expert manual measurements. Deep learning (DL) also proves to be a valuable addition to CAC thanks to its strong predictive value for future cardiovascular events regardless of clinical risk factors. AI algorithms in CAC scoring allow for automated quantification of additional biomarkers for better outcome prediction.
  • Coronary CT angiography: the use of AI algorithms has a strong correlation with manual expert measurements. Thanks to the evolution of technology, DL systems can perform automated coronary plaque segmentation and calculate total plaque volume to predict future myocardial infarction. For that reason, AI algorithms could be implemented in the routine workflow to perform rapid and automated measurements in real-time.
  • Cardiac MR: AI algorithms can be used to automate image acquisition and analysis with accuracy and precision. Moreover, AI has exhibited promise in tissue characterization.
  • Echocardiography: techniques such as machine learning can group directly observed echocardiographic parameters to uncover patient phenotypes with similar behavior and thereby predict future adverse events.

The use of AI in cardiovascular imaging has been a subject of many other papers, which showed the positive impact of machine learning, deep learning, and other techniques on imaging and prediction of adverse outcomes. One paper reported that a deep learning algorithm performs view classification with the same accuracy as a board-certified echocardiographer. The same review reported that AI is effective for the classification or diagnosis of cardiac pathologies such as myocardial infarction, mitral regurgitation, athlete’s heart, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

An article from the European Heart Journal confirmed that AI is vital for the identification, quantification, and characterization of cardiac disease. What makes AI so important for cardiac imaging is that it rapidly and accurately provides a more comprehensive description of a patient’s cardiovascular health. As a result, AI allows for better decision-making and thereby helps improve patient outcomes.

Since the improvement of patient outcomes is the main objective in healthcare settings, we can expect more and more hospitals and clinics to implement AI techniques in cardiac imaging. Doctor.Global is a practical guide through different hospitals across the globe and the services they offer.

 Benefits of AI in cardiac imaging

 Applications of artificial intelligence in healthcare, especially cardiac imaging, are numerous and they offer a wide range of benefits. The most important benefits of using AI in cardiac imaging include:

  • Improved accuracy: AI techniques can improve the accuracy and efficiency of cardiac imaging interpretation. The main advantage of AI is that it learns from large datasets of annotated images to recognize patterns and abnormalities that human observers could potentially overlook.
  • Early detection: AI-based algorithms can help with the early detection of conditions such as myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, and heart failure by identifying subtle signs of pathology through analysis of imaging data.
  • Prediction of cardiovascular problems: in addition to helping with early detection of cardiovascular diseases, AI algorithms can also predict adverse events. Physicians can use that information to identify high-risk patients who could benefit from closer monitoring. Evidence shows that AI techniques can predict 5-year all-cause mortality much better than existing clinical metrics or coronary computer tomographic angiography alone.
  • Personalized treatment: since AI-based algorithms are precise and incredibly detailed, they allow for personalized approaches to treatment or management of heart diseases. Physicians have the opportunity to shape the treatment protocol according to the unique needs of each patient. Targeted interventions may result in better patient outcomes.
  • Faster decision-making: AI techniques in cardiac imaging are fast, meaning they simplify the decision-making process assist physicians, and reduce the risk of error. Artificial intelligence could spot what humans miss and thereby make it easier for doctors and specialists to pinpoint cardiac problems and determine the best course of treatment. This is particularly important because AI can work round the clock; it’s not overworked as humans are. After all, evidence confirms that doctor burnout can increase the risk of error.

 Concluding remarks

 Artificial intelligence is incredibly helpful in healthcare. Besides increasing the speed and efficacy of routine tasks, it also revolutionizes other fields, such as cardiac imaging. A growing body of evidence confirms that AI-based algorithms are accurate, fast, and reliable in detecting pathologies, predicting adverse events, and early detection of heart diseases. We can expect further evolution and implementation of AI. Using Doctor.Global is a great way to learn more about different hospitals, their specialties, and the latest developments.  

“This is a company press release that is not part of editorial content. No journalist of The Hindu was involved in the publication of this release.”
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