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Super-fast AI helps us see patients sooner

Artificial intelligence in use at Barts Heart Centre

An artificial intelligence tool that can detect heart disease in record time is helping us to see more patients on our waiting lists.

The first-of-its-kind programme analyses MRI scans of the heart in just 20 seconds whilst the patient is in the scanner.

This compares to around 13 minutes when done manually by a human.

The technology can also detect changes to the heart’s structure with 40 per cent greater accuracy and extracts more information than a person is able to.

Each year around 120,000 cardiac MRI scans are performed in the UK.

Arouind 7,500 of these take place at our Barts Heart Centre, located at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

It is estimated that using artificial intelligence will save around 3,000 clinician days every year nationwide, helping us to see more patients on our waiting lists, which have increased as a result of the pandemic.

The technology is being used on over 140 patients a week across St Bartholomew’s, UCL and Royal Free hospitals.

There are plans to extend this to a further 40 locations across the NHS and globally.

Barts Heart Centre cardiologist Dr Rhodri Davies said: “The beauty of the technology is that it replaces the need for a doctor to spend countless hours analysing the scans by hand.

“We are continually pushing the technology to ensure it’s the best it can be, so that it can work for any patient with any heart disease.”

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan from the British Heart Foundation, which funded research into the technology, said: “Innovations like this help fast-track diagnoses and ease workload so that in future we can give more patients the best possible care much sooner.”

The study was a collaboration between Barts Health, QMUL, Royal Free London, UCL and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA. The results were published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and featured on BBC Breakfast, the Times, i, and Mail Online.

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