Study shows AI can predict heart attacks

While much has been made of the dangers of AI, a new study funded by the British Heart Foundation and conducted out of the University of Oxford’s Radcliffe Department of Medicine shows the tech can literally be a lifesaver.

An AI-based tool was deployed to help analyze CT scans of patients’ hearts, and it was “found to improve treatment for up to 45%” of them. 

The technology was able to sniff out risks for heart attacks in patients who went to the hospital with chest pain but were reassured when traditional scans turned up clear. 

Those patients were found to be more at risk for a heart attack in the future, the scientists say. The AI managed to detect narrowing in arteries that were too small for CT and other scans to see.

In fact, nearly 3,400 patients were tracked over nearly eight years following their hospital visits, and the AI tool was able to accurately predict the risk of a heart attack for hundreds of them.

“AI-generated risk scores were then presented to medics for 744 patients, with 45% having their treatment plans altered by medics as a result,” the study revealed.

Oxford professor Charalambos Antoniades, who led the study, noted, “Here we demonstrated that providing an accurate picture of risk to clinicians can alter, and potentially improve, the course of treatment for many heart patients.

He continued, “We hope that this AI tool will soon be implemented across the [National Health Service], helping prevent thousands of avoidable deaths from heart attacks every year in the UK.”