Scientists now have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can analyze eye scans taken during a routine visit to an optician or eye clinic and identify patients at a high risk of a heart attack. I don't know about you, but when I think of heart disease, the last thing that comes to mind is my eyes. But according to a new study, AI can identify heart disease from an eye scan with up to 86% accuracy. Who knew? So if you're looking for another way to get diagnosed (besides those pesky chest X-rays), your eyes may be the ticket.
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Why is this important?
Currently, details about the size and pumping efficiency of a patient's left ventricle can only be determined if they have diagnostic tests such as echocardiography or magnetic resonance imaging of the heart. Those diagnostic tests can be expensive and are often only available in a hospital setting, making them inaccessible for people in countries with less well-resourced healthcare systems or unnecessarily increasing healthcare costs and waiting times in developed countries. This new AI scan technique opens up the possibility of revolutionizing the screening of cardiac disease. Retinal scans are comparatively cheap and routinely used in many optician practices. As a result of automated screening, patients who are at high risk of becoming ill could be referred to specialist cardiac services.
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