Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze handheld ultrasound device-generated images has shown comparable effectiveness in assessing cardiac pumping function to the established diagnostic methods employed by the NHS. These groundbreaking results, revealed at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Conference in Amsterdam, emerge from the pioneering OPERA study, a collaboration between the University of Glasgow, AstraZeneca, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and NHS Golden Jubilee, which aimed to evaluate AI's diagnostic potential in heart failure cases.
The study findings indicate that AI-powered analysis of heart ultrasound images, including those captured using portable devices, achieves a level of precision akin to traditional ultrasound machines operated by skilled experts in measuring the heart's pumping capacity. Notably, AI can complete this analysis in just one minute, a substantial reduction in clinical processing time compared to the approximately 30 minutes required by a human operator—an advancement with the potential to significantly expedite heart failure diagnosis waiting periods.
Heart failure represents a grave medical condition characterized by the heart's inability to effectively circulate blood throughout the body. This condition can manifest a range of debilitating symptoms, profoundly impacting individuals' daily lives. It is estimated that over a million people in the UK live with heart failure.
The latest OPERA study findings suggest that AI's utilization for interpreting echocardiogram images could enable earlier diagnosis. The expedited analysis of these scans also offers the prospect of reducing waiting times within the NHS, ultimately alleviating the healthcare system's burden.