News, NHS trust

AI trial leads to altered care plans for over 300 cardiac patients in Oxford

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has shared news of an artificial intelligence tool that researchers hope has the potential to improve treatment for patients undergoing CT scans for chest pain, with a trial leading to clinicians altering treatment plans for more than 300 patients.

For the purposes of the study, Professor Charalambos Antoniades and his research team at the University of Oxford analysed data from more than 40,000 patients undergoing routine cardiac CT scans across eight hospitals, with participants then followed up for a median of 2.7 years. “While those with significant coronary artery narrowing were more likely to have serious cardiac events or death,” Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust states, “twice as many patients with no significant narrowing experienced heart attacks and cardiac deaths.”

The researchers then deployed the new AI tool, which has been trained using information on changes in fat around inflamed arteries, alongside information on narrowing of the arteries and other clinical risk factors. Further testing on nearly 4,000 patients over seven years revealed that the AI tool could “independently and accurately predict risk of cardiac events”.

In the pilot, the team has gone on to provide AI-generated risk scores to clinicians for 744 patients. In 45 percent of cases – approximately 334 patients – clinicians have altered treatment plans.

Additionally, the trust states that analysis comparing the AI tool to standard care has revealed that the tool is “highly cost-effective” for the NHS. The researchers also estimate that implementation in the NHS “could lead to over 20 percent fewer heart attacks and eight percent fewer cardiac deaths and strokes”, among those having the test.

The British Heart Foundation’s medical director Professor Sir Nilesh Samani comments: “This research shows the valuable role AI-based technology can play in better identifying those patients most at risk of future heart attacks and thereby help clinicians make better treatment decisions for their patients.

“Too many people are needlessly dying from heart attacks each year. It is vital we harness the potential of AI to guide patient treatment, as well as ensuring that the NHS is equipped to support its use. We hope that this technology will ultimately be rolled out across the NHS and help to save the lives of thousands each year who may otherwise be left untreated.”

Yesterday we covered how the trust, in collaboration with Thrombosis UK, has launched a new app called ‘Let’s Talk Clots’, designed to provide information on blood clots, how to reduce the risk of developing one and to support people in recovery.

In other news on AI, last week we reported on the AI solutions being piloted to support preventive care in Birmingham, Buckinghamshire and Somerset.