Researchers at Oxford hospitals develop AI to diagnose heart disease and lung cancer from scans

04 January 2018

Researchers at an Oxford hospital have developed artificial intelligence (AI) that can diagnose heart disease and lung cancer from scans. The system would save billions of pounds with early diagnosis of the diseases.

The heart disease technology would become available to NHS hospitals for free this summer.

Geneticist, Sir John Bell, told BBC News that AI could "save the NHS".

"There is about 2.2 bn spent on pathology services in the NHS. You may be able to reduce that by 50%. AI may be the thing that saves the NHS," he said.

Cardiologists can today detect a problem from the timing of the heartbeat in scans, but even the best doctors get it wrong in one in five cases. Patients are either sent back and have a heart attack or they have to undergo an unnecessary operation.

John Radcliffe Hospital has developed an AI system that diagnoses heart scans much more accurately and can also pick up details in the scans that doctors cannot see.

The system offers a recommendation- positive meaning it believes a risk of the patient having a heart attack exists.

The system has been tested in clinical trials in six cardiology units and the results will be published this year in a peer-reviewed journal after they have been checked by experts. According to professor Paul Leeson, a cardiologist who developed the system, the data indicated that the system has greatly outperformed his fellow heart specialists.

The system called Ultromics, was trained to identify potential problems in the scans of 1,000 patients treated over the past seven years, along with information about whether they went on to have heart problems.

"As cardiologists, we accept that we don't always get it right at the moment,'' Leeson said  The Telegraph reported.

''But now there is a possibility that way may be able to do better."

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