Scientists from the University of Glasgow, together with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and a major medical company called AstraZeneca, have found a way to make diagnosing heart problems quicker and easier.
They have successfully used artificial intelligence, or AI for short, to look at heart ultrasound images the way a trained doctor would.
The big difference is that this AI can provide results in as little as a minute, while it normally takes a human doctor 30 minutes.
This means that people who may have heart problems can find out what’s wrong more quickly, which is important for everyone involved.
Why is that important?
Heart failure is a serious health problem in which the heart cannot properly pump blood around the body. This makes it difficult for people to do everyday things and can lead to even more serious problems.
In the UK alone, over a million people are known to have heart failure, and experts estimate there are many more who don’t even know they have heart failure.
The sooner you discover that you have heart problems, the sooner you can start treatment. Early treatment will help patients feel better and reduce the likelihood that they will need to be hospitalized.
Doctors usually use a machine that takes pictures of the heart to see how well it’s working.
This process is called an echocardiogram and usually requires a well-trained person to read the images and figure out what’s going on.
This study shows that a computer program trained to do this task can do it just as well as a human, but much faster.
How was the study conducted?
The study was called the OPERA study. It was like a team effort, with universities, hospitals and a medical company coming together to try something new.
Using AI, they looked at images of the heart and measured how well the heart was pumping blood. The aim was to find out whether this new method could keep up with the old method in terms of quality but surpass it in terms of speed.
And it did! They found that AI could analyze heart images just as accurately as a human expert. So this is not only faster; it is also reliable.
What does that mean for the future?
This study is a glimpse into the future, where technology will make healthcare better and faster. The NHS is always overcrowded and doctors are often overwhelmed.
Imagine a world where a machine could do some of the work so human doctors could focus on other important things. It could transform healthcare.
dr Ross Campbell, a University of Glasgow researcher who spoke about these findings, said: “The use of AI in healthcare could offer amazing benefits for patients and the entire healthcare system.”
dr Ed Piper, who works for AstraZeneca, also said this new avenue “will help transform the way we diagnose heart failure and help people get the treatment they need faster.”
So the next time you hear about AI, think about how much good it could do. This study is just one example of how technology could improve our lives.
With faster, more reliable heart screening, we’re taking a step towards a future where we can detect problems early and give people the care they need, when they need it.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about it The best time to take vitamins to prevent heart diseaseand scientists are finding out how COVID-19 damages the heart.
For more information on heart health, see recent studies on aspirin linked to a higher risk of heart failure and the results showing this drug can reduce heart disease, fatty liver and obesity.
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