According to researchers funded by the British Heart Foundation, pairing CT scans with artificial intelligence could save thousands of lives by predicting a person’s risk of heart disease up to 10 years in advance. This article examines this claim and how it can preserve heart health.
What Were The Study’s Findings?
The University of Oxford researchers examined over 40,000 patients with CT scans at eight U.K. hospitals and were studied for a median of 2.7 years. They discovered that patients whose scans revealed significant narrowing of the arteries had a higher possibility of a severe heart attack. However, twice as many patients with no significant narrowing eventually suffered heart attacks, which were sometimes fatal.
Following this, the team applied a new AI tool that used information on changes in the fat around inflamed arteries and the information on the narrowing of the arteries. Further testing on 3,393 patients over 7.7 years showed that AI technology could accurately predict the risk of cardiac events.
Among patients with no obstruction in their arteries, those with the highest inflammation levels in their blood vessels had a 10-fold higher risk of cardiac rest than those with lower levels. Dr. Charalambos Antonaides, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the BHF and director of Oxford’s acute multidisciplinary imagining and intervention center, said the research demonstrated that providing an accurate picture of risk to physicians can improve the course of treatment for most heart patients.
He also said that the study discovered that some patients who reported chest pain in a hospital had a high risk of heart attack in the next decade, even when there was no sign of diseased heart arteries.
The research team presented their AI-generated results to physicians for 744 patients and discovered that the physicians altered patients’ treatment plans in up to 45% of cases. This showed the importance of using AI technology to identify and treat those at risk of major cardiac events.
Can The Treatment Be Effective?
The AI technology could potentially save the lives of thousands with chest pain that hasn’t been diagnosed as a heart attack risk. It is also cost-effective, and the researchers hope it would change the management of patients referred for chest pain examinations.
A recent study has shown that artificial intelligence can boost the CT scan success rate when predicting heart disease. This will go a long way in saving lives and preserving the heart health of multiple patients.