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Powerful AI Risk Assessment Tool Predicts Outcomes in Heart Failure Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 16 May 2024

Heart failure is a serious condition where the heart cannot pump sufficient blood to meet the body's needs, leading to symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and swelling in the legs and feet, and it can ultimately result in death. It is a progressive disease, making it crucial for healthcare providers to identify patients at high risk of worsening outcomes. Now, researchers have introduced a potent new risk assessment tool designed to predict the prognosis of patients with heart failure. This tool marks an advancement over previous methods by utilizing machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to assess individual risks of developing serious complications associated with heart failure.

This innovative model was developed by researchers at the University of Virginia Health System (Charlottesville, VA, USA), using anonymized data from thousands of patients who participated in heart failure clinical trials previously sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. When evaluated, the model proved more effective than existing predictors in forecasting outcomes for a wide range of patients, including the likelihood of requiring heart surgery or a transplant, the risk of rehospitalization, and the risk of mortality. The success of the model is attributed to the integration of ML/AI technologies and the inclusion of hemodynamic clinical data, which detail how blood moves through the heart, lungs, and other parts of the body. By applying this model, doctors can tailor treatment more precisely to each patient's needs, potentially extending and improving the quality of their lives, according to the researchers.

Image: The new risk assessment tool determines patient-specific risks of developing unfavorable outcomes with heart failure (Photo courtesy of 123RF)
Image: The new risk assessment tool determines patient-specific risks of developing unfavorable outcomes with heart failure (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

“Heart failure is a progressive condition that affects not only quality of life but quantity as well. All heart failure patients are not the same. Each patient is on a spectrum along the continuum of risk of suffering adverse outcomes,” said researcher Sula Mazimba, MD, a heart failure expert. “Identifying the degree of risk for each patient promises to help clinicians tailor therapies to improve outcomes.”

“This model presents a breakthrough because it ingests complex sets of data and can make decisions even among missing and conflicting factors,” added researcher Josephine Lamp, of the University of Virginia School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. “It is really exciting because the model intelligently presents and summarizes risk factors reducing decision burden so clinicians can quickly make treatment decisions.”

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