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NHS bosses hope new artificial intelligence software will be able to spot damage in heart scans in seconds, slashing cardiology waiting lists with a diagnosis provided in just a minute

  • AI software can slash the time it takes to diagnose heart disease in patients 
  • It takes a doctor 20 minutes to pick up complicated heart disease in a scan 
  • Researchers believe the new software can provide a diagnosis in just one minute 

Artificial intelligence software is poised to drastically slash NHS cardiology waiting lists and give heart patients a faster diagnosis.

The program can carry out complicated measurements in less than a minute that normally take doctors about 20 minutes.

Patients with heart problems usually undergo MRI scans to determine how enlarged the chambers of the organ are – a sign that it is under strain – and whether they will need invasive surgery or can be treated with medication.

The scan captures about ten different images of the heart, each from a slightly different angle, to create a full picture.

The program can carry out complicated measurements in less than a minute that normally take doctors about 20 minutes (file photo)

Doctors then have to print out these scans and painstakingly measure the size of the chambers by physically drawing on them. Most hospitals carry out up to 20 of these lengthy assessments a day, and as the analysis of each one takes about 20 minutes it can eat up a significant proportion of a cardiologist’s time (file photo) 

Doctors then have to print out these scans and painstakingly measure the size of the chambers by physically drawing on them.

Most hospitals carry out up to 20 of these lengthy assessments a day, and as the analysis of each one takes about 20 minutes it can eat up a significant proportion of a cardiologist’s time.

The new software, called AI segmentation and developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield Medical School, can do the job in under 60 seconds.

Studies over three years of development have shown it is highly effective, and it has already been rolled out at Sheffield Teaching Hospital.

‘It is extremely impressive technology, saunier duval renova star f24e turbó ’ says Dr Andrew Swift, a consultant radiologist at the hospital who was involved in developing the tool.

Experts say it could be a game-changer in an area of medicine that has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are more than 5,000 Britons with heart problems who have been waiting 16 weeks or longer for an appointment – a level nine times higher than before the pandemic.

Dr Swift added: ‘It doesn’t seem right that so much of doctors’ time is spent drawing on images, when machines can do this task.

‘This should be rolled out across the NHS as it will free up doctors to spend more time with patients, at a time when we desperately need to cut the NHS backlog.’

The program has been recognised with a Medipex NHS Innovation Award for using AI to improve patient services and safety.

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