Artificial intelligence to predict heart disease risk

June 15, 2021

A new project using artificial intelligence technology could spell a medical breakthrough for people suffering from, or at risk of, coronary artery disease, the single leading cause of death in Australia.

Image: Shutterstock

The approach being developed by researchers at The University of Western Australia could allow for more accurate diagnosis and faster reporting across all aspects of healthcare, improving the quality and consistency of patient care.

The UWA team of experts in cardiac imaging and artificial intelligence was awarded more than $896,606 through a Medical Research Future Fund Frontiers grant to develop a tool to predict the risk of coronary heart disease from heart computed tomography (CT) scans.

Coronary artery disease resulting from the build-up of plaque affects more than 1.2 million Australians; however traditional methods using CT imaging of the heart are cumbersome, time-consuming and may have limited accuracy. 

Led by Professor Girish Dwivedi, the UWA Wesfarmers Chair in Cardiology, the team, including Professor Mohammed Bennamoun, Professor Farid Boussaid, Dr Frank Sanfilippo and Dr Abdul Ihdayhid, together with medical technology company Artrya Ltd, will create an artificial intelligence-based risk assessment tool that will better detect plaque on heart CT scans.

Image: Professor Girish Dwivedi, UWA

The tool could determine if plaque build-up has narrowed the coronary arteries and would identify patients most at risk of adverse cardiovascular events, ultimately reducing the number of heart attacks and deaths.

Professor Dwivedi said the bridging of disruptive technologies towards medical imaging and risk prevention could accelerate new technological advances in health care.

“Our artificial intelligence-based risk prediction system will be able to define groups based on heart CT scans and will identify patients at risk of heart attack and also those who would most benefit from treatment,” Professor Dwivedi said.

“Preventing, reducing or even delaying the onset of heart attack will drive massive savings in public health budgets.

“Partnering with Artrya shows that academics and industry can jointly innovate and create solutions using advanced technology such as artificial intelligence to improve the health of Australians.”

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2 thoughts on “Fresh opportunities”

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