Northwestern Medicine piloting machine learning for heart disease


Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine announced this week that it has been doing new artificial intelligence work in an effort to improve the efficacy and accuracy of its cardiac screening. Clinicians there are using a cardiac monitoring platform from Eko, studying how its AI-enabled digital stethoscopes can interpret heart sounds to help screen for heart murmurs and valvular damage. WHY IT MATTERS Traditional stethoscopes aren't optimal for detecting cardiac disease. They depend on a "highly trained musical ear that can separate subtle abnormalities from normal sounds with cardiologist-level precision," according to Northwestern researchers. The idea with the Eko stethoscopes is that AI and machine learning can combine the data from tens of thousands of heart sound patterns to help clinicians better assess what sounds are normal and what's not."One of the biggest problems in healthcare is that general practitioners so often miss heart murmurs that if found earlier would allow patients to get treatment before problems arise," said Connor Landgraf, CEO of Eko, in a statement.