As reported by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), about 2.7 and 6.1 million (Trusted Source) American citizens are suffering from AFib (atrial fibrillation), a disorder where the heart chambers are quivering or produce a sporadic heartbeat.
AFib can contribute to blood clots, strokes, heart failure as well as other issues. This condition is putting them at an increased risk to suffer heart failure, strokes, blood clots as well as more cardiac disorders.
AFib also has a bad reputation when it comes to diagnosing the disorder due to the fact that its symptoms are irregular.
Whilst millions of Americans are living with AFib, which is a potential dangerous disorder, however, many sufferers will never be diagnosed.
A cardiac electrophysiology, medical director, Dr. Vinay Mehta at the (Aurora Baycare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin), stated that somebody suffering from atrial fibrillation, maybe experiencing symptoms of this disorder at interrupted times.
This condition can occur at night during one day, whilst it can happen during the afternoon the following day. Symptoms could also occur for just 5 minutes today, but tomorrow it can continue for 2 hours.
Dr. Mehta told Healthline, that AFib is a condition which can come & go, whilst the diagnosis is rather finical and is frequently missed.
A patient who has heart problems will typically undergo an EKG or electrocardiogram. During an EKG a recording is made of the electrical activity of the heart. Whilst the test is conducted, the readout will be reviewed by a trained professional.
However, when a patient doesn’t experience any symptoms whilst the test is administered, it may be undetectable.
Recently researchers associated with the Mayo Clinic, disclosed a scientific study’s results where artificial intelligence was used to observe hundreds of thousands EKG’s, discovering a method with the potential to diagnose AFib in 10 seconds.
In a Statement, Dr. Paul Friedman, chairing the cardiovascular medicine department at the (Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota) stated, the application of an AI-model to the readings of EKG’s, enables doctors to detect signals of AFib, despite the fact the larger symptoms did not occur during the recording of the EKG.
Dr. Friedman compared it to looking at an ocean now, whilst being able to say that big waves occurred the previous day.
The Use of AI to Discover AFib
The AI-authorised EKG was developed by the Mayo Clinic’s research team to discover AFib’s electronic signature by using readings of 10 seconds.
Then they used it for scouring over approximately 650,000 EKG’s which were taken over a period of more than 24-years from about 181,000 mature patients.
The AI had the ability to identify people, possibly having undetected AFib with an 83% accuracy rate, by discovering signs within the EKG which might otherwise, be undetectable by the human eye, despite the fact that this eye is particularly well-trained.
The research’s authors, published in The Lancet, a medical journal (Trusted Source) stated that it might be possible in the future to use these non-invasive and quick AI-empowered EKG’s, as a diagnostic tool for screening high-risk groups, like people suffering from diabetes, hypertension or those of 65-years and older.
The Opinion of Experts
Dr. Metha who was not engaged in the research of the Mayo Clinic stated that there are a lot of possible applications to use AI to discover AFib, which include using it for predicting the kinds of people who may be affected, whilst assisting in detecting it sooner. He stated that it is a great application.
Dr. Shephal Doshi, a cardiac electrophysiologist & the director of the cardiac electrophysiology & pacing at (Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California), stated: “That preliminary data was used by the Mayo research, but if it could be replicated, the potential exists to assist people who are not diagnosed with AFib and who have a greater risk of having a stroke.”
Dr. Doshi, told Healthline, if they have the ability to identify, by the use of artificial intelligence, people would normally go undiagnosed until they experience a stroke, they can make a great impact on the disability, quality of life & longevity of the patients, hence 80% of strokes could be prevented.
According to Dr. Anuj Shah, interventional cardiologist & endovascular specialist (founder of Apex Heart and Vascular Care in Passaic and Jersey City, New Jersey), the research proved that AI can accurately assist in detecting serious arrhythmias, despite the fact, no obvious evidence to the human eye, exists.
He said that he believed patients could experience this technology to be used on a routinely basis, possibly in a couple of years, once they have more resilient data as well as higher accuracy within the greater population.
It might include the escalation, to make it possible for using it within consumer products, assisting with the detection of health problems.
Dr. Shah said that it could be a real paradigm shift when it comes to the method used to detect arrhythmias, it will make it seamless and rather easy for patients to get detected.
It could also lead to enabling long-term & more recurrent snapshot-kind of EKG’s, whilst improving machine learning & continuously improve accuracy.
According to the director of electrophysiology-services, Dr. Glenn Meininger, (Baltimore region of MedStar Health), it is indeed a novel concept.
He stated that it is like reading cardiology’s tea leaves and added how amazing it is that using Artificial Intelligence make it possible to see a problem’s footprints in an EKG which seems normal.
Meininger added, he also experiences AI-enabled technology, firstly being a screening tool for physicians and not directly as a consumer product, like a function within a smartwatch.
Dr. Meininger stated, he expects that as this trend is continuing for greater patient-directed care, it will be extended to the whole of the community.
However, until the time comes when AFib is detected by using your smartphone or smartwatch, professionals are saying, the research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, seems promising and it must still undergo with more scrutiny & tests before it can be used on a broader basis.
An Afib expert, electrophysiologist and cardiologist, Dr. Percy Francisco Morales, said, he experienced the research of the Mayo Clinic as fascinating. He added that he feels sure subtle electrical changes can be noted within a person who has a history of AFib, which may not be noticed during standard testing.
Dr. Morales stated, it is likely, this information would be the best to apply over those patients who have unexplained strokes. A lot of patients are diagnosed with inexplicable strokes, where atrial fibrillation was undiagnosed.
The testing, necessary for the detection of Afib could be reduced in a significant way by this technology, according to Dr. Morales. This could result in the possible improvement and saving of lives.