New AI system for lung cancer and heart disease

Posted Jan 14, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Artificial intelligence is gradually being adopted by health services to assist medics with the diagnosis of serious diseases. In one new development, scientists in Oxford, U.K. have launched an AI system for heart disease.
The development comes from John Radcliffe Hospital and it is an artificial intelligence system which has the aim of reducing operational expenditure. This is through early detection of heart disease and lung cancer. By detecting potential for diseases earlier, appropriate medication can be administered meaning a reduction in operations.
Heart disease is assessed by cardiologists through the scanning and monitoring of heart attacks. An echocardiogram, or "echo", is a scan used to look at the heart and nearby blood vessels. This is a type of ultrasound scan, which means a small probe is used to send out high-frequency sound waves that create echoes when they bounce off different parts of the body.
This assessment is estimated to be inaccurate at a rate of 20 percent; the consequence of this meaning that either heart attacks are missed or operations are performed that are, in hindsight, unnecessary.
The 20 percent rate equates to 12,000 misdiagnoses of the 60,000 heart scans conducted by U.K. health services each year. The cost of this is estimated to be £600 million ($800 million).
The new AI system is called Ultromics, PharmaFile reports, and it represents a far more accurate means of scanning. The process detects heart conditions that medics can often miss. The scanning system provides a recommendation based on an assessment of cardiovascular event risk, with the inquiry drawn from a database.
In tests, the system has been used clinical trials in six separate cardiology units. This enabled the machine learning to take place. Learning was undertaken through an analysis of 1,000 patient heart scans.
Commenting on the technology, the researchers state: “Making a diagnosis from echo relies on experienced clinicians having to make qualitative judgements based on only a fraction of the data that is potentially available to them from a typical scan. But our technology extracts more than 80,000 data points from a single echocardiogram image to overcome subjectivity and increase diagnostic accuracy.”
The artificial intelligence system could come on-line mid-way through 2018 and the service will be free to the U.K. National Health Service. The new system could save the health service £300 million ($400 million) per year.
A separate AI system is being developed to detect lung cancer, for which clinical trials are underway. This technology is being developed by a start-up called Optellum.