This algorithm can predict if you will have a heart attack within 5 years thanks to AI

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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New research has developed a specific and precise algorithm, based on artificial intelligence, which will make it possible in the near future to diagnose those at high risk of heart attack within 5 years.

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A new study has developed a new artificial intelligence tool. The research was led by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who discovered how to accurately measure plaque deposits in coronary arteries, and predict the risk of a heart attack of the patient within five years.

The tool needs further validation before being deployed to clinics, but promises to automatically achieve in seconds what previously took up to 30 minutes. (Read also: Heart: Does iron in red meat increase the risk of heart disease?)

A systematic review

The scan known as computed tomography angiography (CTA) is one of the best tools doctors currently have for evaluating patients with heart disease.

CTA imaging of plaque deposits within coronary arteries was recently discovered as the best way to predict a patient's likelihood of heart attack in the near future.

The author of the new study, Damini Dey, of the Cedars-Sinai Biomedical Imaging Research Institute said that:

Coronary plaque is often not measured because there is no fully automated way to do it, but we can now use a specific tool to do it.

To create the tool, the researchers first created an algorithm to recognize plaque deposits, using a dataset of CTA images of 921 patients. The tool was then validated on a set of image tests of several hundred patients.

Next, they looked at the tool's ability to predict future heart attacks.

After setting a series of plaque volume thresholds for the tool to work, the researchers found it could accurately stratify patients into two categories: those at high risk and those at low risk for heart attack within five years of CTA imaging.

Larger studies will be needed to better train the algorithms on different patient populations. And even when the technology is optimized, there will still be significant barriers to patient access, as CTA imaging is not an inexpensive or easily accessible diagnostic method.

However, the new study is an exciting demonstration of the possible future of medicine. A future in which the tools of artificial intelligence they can quickly analyze diagnostic imaging to provide immediate patient risk reports. 

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Photos: The Lancet

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