A joint UK-US research team is applying an artificial intelligence (AI) system to map for the first time how the COVID-19 virus attacks the heart with such deadly impact. This week, British health-tech company Ultromics and Mayo Clinic in the USA will use AI software, EchoGo Core, to analyse echocardiograms of COVID-19 patients, for clues about how the virus affects the human cardiovascular system.
A press release reports that their findings will produce, for the first time, a map of the “novel cardiac features” of COVID-19 and help physicians rapidly triage and treat high-risk patients, potentially saving countless lives.
The multisite study will look at 500 COVID-19 positive men and women, aged between 18 and 89. These participants will have undergone a clinically indicated echocardiography exam during a three-month period. The primary objective is the assessment of automated cardiac measurements, ejection fraction and Global Longitudinal Strain, for the classification of COVID-19 patient outcomes.
According to the press release, EchoGo Core can provide physicians with an alternative streamlined solution for monitoring and identifying heart disease, enabling healthcare providers, no matter what experience level, to perform analysis with ease. This could be hugely important in giving physicians freed time to provide high quality, patient-centric care.
CEO of Ultromics, Ross Upton says: “To date, there is no way of linking the impact of the virus to predicted patient outcomes. By applying our technology to the evaluation of COVID associated echocardiograms, we can help understand the characteristics of cardiac involvement. We hope that by discovering a way to do this, patient management can be optimised—this is incredibly important where resources are scarce. Most importantly, we can give physicians the gift of time to treat those most in danger.”
Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s leading centres of cardiology and its extensive cardiac knowledge will assist Ultromics in the development of an image analysis application to help clinicians in the fight against COVID-19. The collaboration will be led by Gary Woodward, CTO of Ultromics and Patricia A Pellikka, cardiologist, and clinical researcher at Mayo Clinic.