Glasgow study highlights the potential for AI to support heart failure diagnosis

Findings from the latest OPERA study suggest that “using AI to interpret images from a handheld ultrasound device is comparable at detecting how well the heart pumps as the gold-standard of diagnosis currently used in the NHS”.

The study compared AI’s interpretation of heart ultrasound images with those of a typical ultrasound machine operated by an expert, finding that the AI’s interpretation was “as effective”; in addition, the AI was able to interpret the image in one minute, in comparison to standard analysis of an echocardiogram with a human operator, said to take around 30 minutes.

The University of Glasgow, reporting on the research, calls this a “huge reduction in clinical time” which shows potential for speeding up heart failure diagnosis waiting times and helping to alleviate pressures on the healthcare system overall.

The OPERA study is part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Glasgow, AstraZeneca, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and NHS Golden Jubilee which aims to assess the efficacy of AI technology in patients with heart failure.

Dr Ross Campbell from the University of Glasgow said that the results ” show that investing in AI in healthcare could offer remarkable benefits to both patients and the NHS. We have shown that AI can interpret echocardiogram images accurately, and given AI can produce a report in a fraction of the time, this could really make a difference in allowing us to make early diagnosis of heart failure possible.”

We’ve covered a variety of health tech projects from the University of Glasgow in the past – for example, last summer we heard how researchers aimed to find a new way to monitor and measure the tiny signals created when nerve cells transmit information to skeletal muscles, through research project MAGNABLE.

We also covered how engineers from the university developed a new form of electronic ‘skin’ which researchers hoped could “be the basis for a more advanced electronic skin which enables robots capable of exploring and interacting with the world in new ways, or building prosthetic limbs which are capable of near-human levels of touch sensitivity.”

The University of Glasgow has also been involved in the co-creation of an app designed to help children learn more about respiratory viruses.

Staying in Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has published their new Sustainability Strategy 2023 – 2028 – sharing a vision for a “resilient health service which is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable” and sets out plans to utilise technology to support with property, transport, communications and more.