A NHS first as AI used to help detect coronary heart disease

A new platform is helping clinicians detect coronary artery disease for patients in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 8:00 am
Dr David Ripley, the Trust's director of research and development and a consultant cardiologist.
Dr David Ripley, the Trust's director of research and development and a consultant cardiologist.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working at the cutting edge of heart disease diagnosis through its partnership with a ground-breaking AI company.

For the first time, patients will have their heart ultrasounds analysed by a patented, automated, artificially intelligent (AI) platform that will help clinicians more accurately detect Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

The Trust will use Ultromics’ EchoGo platform to automate traditional analysis, unlocking the potential to rapidly analyse critical measurements for all patients, and ultimately predict CAD – something that is unheard of in the NHS today.

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Dr David Ripley, the Trust’s director of research and development and a consultant cardiologist, said: “A complex pathway of symptoms, circumstances and features means that it is not always easy to correctly identify CAD on first visit.

“We will be using Ultromics’ AI platform, EchoGo, in our echocardiography exams to analyse CAD patients and detect features that would have been impossible to detect using traditional software.

"EchoGo has the potential to improve the diagnostic accuracy of predicting coronary artery disease within our Trust.

“Given our involvement as this project has developed, we expect that EchoGo will make a real difference.

"Decisions will still be made by clinicians, but the interpretation of these cardiac images is subjective, and this will support analysis within our Trust.”

Northumbria Healthcare will also use EchoGo in a head-to-head trial that compares how decisions supported by EchoGo fare against decisions without this tool in analysing patients with the potential of serious coronary artery disease.

Dr Ripley added: “We believe this technology will improve accuracy in diagnosing something that is one of the biggest causes of premature death, particularly here in the North East.

“It will help to provide the informed care that we strive to provide to all of our patients, ensuring that they can receive timely treatment that meets their needs while supporting longer, healthier lives for those in our communities.”

Dr. Ross Upton, CEO and founder of Ultromics, said: “We are excited to work with Northumbria in advancing their echo interpretation using AI.

“EchoGo is proven to provide accurate and precise analysis with zero variability. By standardising the quality of analysis, we can improve the accuracy of coronary artery disease diagnoses.”