Artificial Intelligence Helps Diagnose Cardiac Infections

Author: Mayo Clinic
Published: 2009/09/14 - Updated: 2023/02/15 - Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: Software designed to mimic the human brain may help diagnose cardiac infections without invasive exam. The software program is called an "artificial neural network" (ANN) because it mimics the brain's cognitive function and reacts differently to situations depending on its accumulated knowledge. Researchers say that, when used on an overall sample that included both known and unknown cases, the ANN accurately excluded endocarditis in at least half of the patients, thus eliminating half the cohort from a needless invasive procedure.

Main Digest

Mayo Clinic researchers say that "teachable software" designed to mimic the human brain may help them diagnose cardiac infections without an invasive exam. Those findings were presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco.

Endocarditis "an infection involving the valves and sometimes chambers of the heart" can be a problem in patients with implanted medical devices. It is serious and can be deadly. The mortality rate can be as high as one in five, even with aggressive treatment and removal of the device. With additional complications, the mortality could be over 60 percent. Diagnosis usually requires transesophageal echocardiography, an invasive procedure that also has risks. It involves use of an endoscope and insertion of a probe down the esophagus.

The software program is called an "artificial neural network" (ANN) because it mimics the brain's cognitive function and reacts differently to situations depending on its accumulated knowledge. That knowledge or training is provided by researchers, similar to how a person would "train" a computer to play chess, by introducing it to as many situations as possible. In this case, the ANN underwent three separate "trainings" to learn how to evaluate the symptoms it would be considering.

"If, through this novel method, we can help determine a percentage of endocarditis diagnoses with a high rate of accuracy, we hope to save a significant number of patients from the discomfort, risk and expense of the standard diagnostic procedure," says M. Rizwan Sohail, M.D., a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist and leader of the study.

The team studied 189 Mayo patients with device-related endocarditis diagnosed between 1991 and 2003. The ANN was tested retrospectively on the data from these cases. When tested on cases with known diagnosis of endocarditis, the best-trained ANN was correct most of the time (72 of 73 implant-related infections and 12 of 13 endocarditis cases) with a confidence level greater than 99 percent.

Researchers say that, when used on an overall sample that included both known and unknown cases, the ANN accurately excluded endocarditis in at least half of the cases, thus eliminating half the cohort from a needless invasive procedure.

The research team included Loai Saadah, Pharm.D.; Tawam-Johns Hopkins Medicine, United Arab Emirates; and Daniel Uslan, M.D.; Paul Friedman, M.D.; David Hayes, M.D.; Walter Wilson, M.D.; James Steckelberg, M.D.; and Larry Baddour, M.D.; all of Mayo Clinic. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

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This peer reviewed publication pertaining to our Medical Research News section was selected for circulation by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Artificial Intelligence Helps Diagnose Cardiac Infections" was originally written by Mayo Clinic, and submitted for publishing on 2009/09/14 (Edit Update: 2023/02/15). Should you require further information or clarification, Mayo Clinic can be contacted at the mayoclinic.org website. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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