Digital Brief: Sept. 20, 2023 (AM)

Digital Brief: Sept. 20, 2023 (AM)


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Artificial intelligence is being used to help doctors better diagnose a number of health conditions. Now, it’s showing views of the heart like nothing they’ve seen before, providing doctors with the ability to predict if someone is going to have a heart attack or develop cardiovascular disease.

“I have a sister that passed away who had heart disease in her 40s,” said Bob Frieburger, who has a family history of heart trouble.

So, when his cardiologist told him about a new technique that uses artificial intelligence to measure cardiovascular risk, he was all in.

“I said, well, gee, I want to do that,” he said.

It works off a CT scan that looks inside the coronary arteries. The software takes the output and applies AI analysis.

“The artificial intelligence program that we’re utilizing looks at plaque and it breaks it down into the types of plaque, because some types of plaque are more dangerous than others,” said cardiologist, Dr. Richard Chazal.

Instead of relying on doctors analyzing testing and imaging, AI computes thousands of images and corresponding outcomes to predict future risks.

“We’ve identified a number of people that were at high risk for developing a heart attack in the not-too-distant future,” Dr. Chazal said.

Frieburger now holds a snapshot of his heart that shows he is at low risk for a heart attack – which is something that eases his mind.

“Knowing that that could be me if I didn’t know the condition of my heart, that gave me a tremendous level of comfort,” he said.

It could be the future of medicine, preventing problems before they become reality. However, research is still underway to analyze the risk of radiation exposure and costs. 

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