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AI software for cardiac echo could help in COVID-19 fight

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | May 28, 2020
Artificial Intelligence Cardiology Ultrasound
A U.K. company with software that uses AI to predict the likelihood of a patient developing coronary artery disease has entered into a clinical research agreement with Mayo Clinic to further develop the product.

The partnership will also explore using AI analysis of echocardiograms to potentially help triage COVID-19 patients, as heart disease is associated with worse outcomes.

Ultromics, which spun out of research at Oxford University, markets the EchoGo Core and EchoGo Pro, which applies AI to echocardiograms to better diagnose heart disease.

The EchoGo Core product, which is FDA cleared, provides automated scores for ejection fraction and Global Longitudinal Strain.

Without the device, the scores are only 76% accurate and highly variable based on which clinician performs the calculations, said Ross Upton, Ultromics’ chief executive officer.

The company’s EchoGo Pro product, which is CE marked but has not yet been submitted for FDA clearance, predicts whether a patient is at risk of a heart attack and requires intervention.

The partnership will allow Ultromics to use Mayo Clinic’s extensive cardiac data sets to help develop the company’s image analysis product suite.

Mayo Clinic will use EchoGo Core to analyze echocardiograms of COVID-19 patients, to better understand how the virus affects the cardiovascular system.

A multisite study will look at 500 COVID-19-positive patients between ages 18 and 89 that have undergone a clinically-indicated echocardiography exam during a three-month period.

Performing the trials with Mayo Clinic will provide a better picture of which COVID-19 patients to triage, Upton said.

“We know heart disease is an important factor in COVID, so we were keen to bring this through very rapidly,” Upton told HCB News.

As part of the partnership, Dr. Patricia Pellikka, a cardiologist and clinical researcher at Mayo Clinic, has joined Ultromics’ scientific advisory board, and Mayo Clinic will also take an equity stake in the company.

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