AI Outperforms Sonographers in Assessing Heart Function

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal "Nature" found that artificial intelligence (AI) is better at assessing heart function than sonographers.

The study was conducted by investigators at the Smidt Heart Institute and the Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai and was a first-of-its-kind, blinded, randomized clinical trial of AI in cardiology. Cardiologists more frequently agreed with the initial assessment made by AI and made corrections to only 16.8% of the AI initial assessments. Cardiologists made corrections to 27.2% of the sonographers' initial assessments, and the physicians were unable to distinguish between AI and sonographer assessments. AI also saved cardiologists and sonographers time. The hope is to save clinicians time and minimize the more tedious parts of the cardiac imaging workflow. However, the cardiologist remains the final expert adjudicator of the AI model output. Regulatory approvals are now needed for such tools to be considered for use in clinical practice.

The success of AI in assessing cardiac function presents promising implications for the future of cardiac imaging. The research team is optimistic about the potential for wider adoption of AI in both the clinical and regulatory arenas. Another study conducted by the same investigators revealed that the AI algorithm from CT angiography images accurately predicted heart attack risk within five years, leading the team to believe that AI can help build better prediction models that will quickly get interventions to those who need them, ultimately saving lives.


He B, Kwan AC, Cho JH, Yuan N, Pollick C, Shiota T, Ebinger J, Bello NA, Wei J, Josan K, Duffy G, Jujjavarapu M, Siegel R, Cheng S, Zou JY, Ouyang D. Blinded, randomized trial of sonographer versus AI cardiac function assessment. Nature. 2023 Apr 5. doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-05947-3. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37020027.


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