Mayo Clinic AI algorithm proves effective at spotting early-stage heart disease in routine EKG data

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It still remains to be seen whether the sci-fi genre is correct and artificial intelligence will one day rise up against the human race, but in the meantime, AI just might save your life. An algorithm developed by the Mayo Clinic can significantly increase the number of cases of low ejection fraction caught in its earliest stages, when it's still most treatable, according to a study published this month in Nature Medicine. The condition, in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood from its chamber with each contraction, is associated with cardiomyopathy and heart failure and is often symptomless in its early stages. Traditionally, the only way to diagnose low ejection fraction is with the use of an echocardiogram, a time-consuming and expensive cardiac ultrasound. The Mayo Clinic's AI algorithm, however, can screen for low ejection fraction in a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) reading, which is a much faster and more readily available tool. In the study, more than 22,600 patients received an EKG as part of their usual primary care checkups, then were randomly assigned to have their results analyzed by the AI or by a physician as usual.

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