Can AI-enhanced heart screening address health disparities?

Feb 12, 2023 | Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator | @kanaazpereira

a futuristic 3D graphic image of a heart EKG, perhaps representing AI artificial intelligence

Clinicians and researchers around the world are combining artificial intelligence, known as AI, with health care to help identify patients at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart failure. However, as the use of these AI-enhanced tools grows, researchers at Mayo Clinic are asking, "Do these tools work reliably for people of color?" and "Are they accessible in community health care settings?"

"AI-based health interventions are frequently developed and deployed without race-specific data analysis or validation," says David Harmon, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiology fellow. "It's important to make sure these tools are reliable and accessible to all, particularly people of color who are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease."

Dr. Harmon is the first author of a recently published proof-of-concept study examining the use of AI-enhanced electrocardiograms, known as AI-ECGs, for cardiovascular health screening among African Americans. The researchers found that the AI-ECG "demonstrated excellent performance" in this population and that administering it in a community-based setting showed promise.

Signals and patterns a human might not perceive

ECGs record electrical signals from the heart, which are interpreted to check for heart disease. AI can help enhance the interpretation and diagnostic efficiency of ECGs, using algorithms trained to detect signals and patterns in ECGs a human might not be able to perceive.

In this study, each participant underwent a standard ECG and a limited transthoracic echocardiogram. Then, both a trained human interpreter and an AI-ECG tool analyzed the results. Comparing these analyses, the researchers found that the delivery of the AI-ECG worked reliably in a community setting. Participants indicated high enthusiasm and interest, and 86% were able to complete the screening within the study period.

Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network

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