A diagnosis of coronary artery disease usually comes after a series of procedures, including blood tests, exercise to reproduce symptoms, an electrocardiogram, a chest X-ray and, finally, cardiac catheterization, where a thin tube is inserted through the heart's blood vessels to check blood flow and function in various parts of the organ.
It can take weeks, even months, for each patient to go through these gold-standard procedures.
But this decades-old way of diagnosing coronary artery disease could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
"With our technology, you just lay down, take off your shirt and, with a hand-held, battery-operated device, your doctor can take a three-minute recording that collects 10 million data points," explains Don Crawford, president and CEO of Analytics 4 Life Inc., a Toronto-based company focused on artificial intelligence-based medical devices.
"This data is then sent to a cloud storage device, and from there our computers take that data and create a three-dimensional image of the heart, along with a detailed report," explains Mr. Crawford. "By the time the patient has their shirt back on, the physician has already received the report on their computer.
"And based on this report, they can let their patients know whether or not they need to go to the cath[eterization] lab."
The Analytics 4 Life technology, currently being tested in a dozen hospitals in the United States, is at the leading edge of artificial intelligence in cardiac care – an emerging field of science that's set to change the way cardiovascular diseases are diagnosed and perhaps even treated.
The third annual Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) magazine published by The Globe and Mail focuses on why Canada's premier cardiac centre is known for being “the heartbeat of innovation.” The magazine explores the PMCC model that supports the creation, development and evolution of innovative ideas into action – making “today's idea, tomorrow's practice.” It also examines the impact that a culture of innovation has on the way cardiovascular care is delivered now and into the future.