AI is heralding a new era in heart attack diagnosis with the introduction of an innovative AI tool named CoDE-ACS.
Developed by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, the tool exhibits a promising potential to improve the speed and accuracy of heart attack diagnosis and alleviate the mounting pressure on the A&E.
A Transformational Tool for Emergency Departments
The CoDE-ACS algorithm leverages advanced data science and AI to provide a unique approach to heart attack diagnosis.
Leading medical experts have widely recognised its development and potential application.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), expressed his belief in the transformative power of the tool, stating,
“CoDE-ACS has the potential to rule-in or rule-out a heart attack more accurately than current approaches. It could be transformational for Emergency Departments, shortening the time needed to make a diagnosis, and much better for patients.”
CoDE-ACS Accuracy and Efficiency
The algorithm, having been put to the test with over 10,000 patients in Scotland who arrived at the hospital suspecting a heart attack, has shown an astonishing accuracy rate of 99.6%.
It’s like a detective, gathering clues from a variety of patient information – age, sex, ECG results, medical history, and even troponin levels – a protein that’s currently considered the gold standard in diagnosing a heart attack.
Each patient is then given a probability score from 0 to 100.
The application of the CoDE-ACS tool could significantly reduce hospital admissions, contributing to the efficiency of emergency departments.
Clinical trials are underway in Scotland to further assess the tool’s effectiveness in a real-world hospital setting.
Addressing Inequality in Heart Attack Diagnosis
CoDE-ACS also addresses a significant concern in the current diagnostic approach – inequality.
Existing testing methods, which use a uniform threshold for every patient, often overlook factors such as age, sex, and other health conditions.
As a result, the accuracy of a heart attack diagnosis can be compromised, leading to disparities.
Previous BHF research revealed that women are 50% more likely to receive a wrong initial diagnosis, which consequently increases their risk of dying after 30 days by 70%.
With its ability to perform well, irrespective of pre-existing health conditions, the AI tool offers a promising solution to this critical issue.
The tool, according to researchers, has the potential to prevent such misdiagnoses and create a more equitable healthcare landscape.
With cardiac waiting lists reaching a record high of 380,787 by the end of March 2023, a staggering 63% increase compared to February 2020, there is an urgent need for innovative tools like CoDE-ACS.
By improving diagnosis accuracy and efficiency, these advancements could dramatically ease the strain on emergency departments and help manage this escalating healthcare crisis.
The Future of Heart Attack Diagnosis
While CoDE-ACS heralds a new era of diagnosis, it’s worth noting that it’s just one of the innovative approaches being explored in the field.
An algorithm named MI3 has also shown promise, boasting 100% sensitivity for a heart attack at 30 minutes.
However, as Professor Steve Goodacre of the University of Sheffield, who wasn’t involved in the CoDE-ACS trial, pointed out, “This doesn’t (yet) show that we can replace doctors with computers. Experienced clinicians know that diagnosis is a complex business.”
The future of heart attack diagnosis might well be shaped by AI, but the balance between human expertise and artificial intelligence will be critical.
As we anticipate the results of ongoing clinical trials of CoDE-ACS, it’s essential to remember that AI’s role is to support, not replace, the clinician’s judgment. As Goodacre aptly pointed out, the next stage of research will hopefully answer how clinicians in emergency departments will use this algorithm.
AI for Improved Patient Care
Professor Nicholas Mills, BHF Professor of Cardiology at the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, encapsulated the significance of the CoDE-ACS tool, stating,
“For patients with acute chest pain due to a heart attack, early diagnosis and treatment saves lives.”
He further underscored the algorithm’s potential by saying, “Harnessing data and artificial intelligence to support clinical decisions has enormous potential to improve care for patients and efficiency in our busy Emergency Departments.”
The CoDE-ACS tool marks a significant stride in the ongoing journey to leverage AI for improved patient care. Its potential benefits, from improved speed and accuracy in diagnosis to reducing inequalities and easing pressure on emergency departments, herald a promising future for heart attack diagnostics.
However, the full potential of this transformative tool will only be realised through a collaborative approach that values both human expertise and AI’s data-driven insights.