Medical technology firm Artrya has been cleared by the Australian government to commercialise an AI tool that diagnoses coronary heart disease. It has partnered with Perth-based radiology practice Envision Medical Imaging to market the product by early next year.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

The AI tool,Salix, has been developed through the collaboration of researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA), Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Salix detects and assesses atherosclerotic plaque – a substrate of most heart attacks – in a patient’s arteries as seen in their cardiac CT scans. Using AI, it quickly produces a patient’s 3D heart image and a report detailing an assessment of their vulnerable plaque, stenosis, calcium score and total plaque burden within 15 minutes.

WHY IT MATTERS

Artrya noted that around nine million individuals die each year from coronary artery disease. In Australia, it was the single leading cause of death in 2018, accounting for 42% of all cardiovascular deaths in the year and claiming 17,500 lives, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Around 580,000 adults were estimated to have lived with the disease between 2017 and 2018.

The UWA previously stated that an AI tool detecting plaque build-up in the heart will enable “more accurate diagnosis and faster reporting across all aspects of healthcare, improving the quality and consistency of patient care”. 

Artrya’s Salix refers clinicians to high-risk results so they can triage patients early and determine who requires aggressive treatment to prevent the likelihood of a major adverse cardiac event. 

Meanwhile, the company said it is in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals in target international markets before launching its product there next year.

MARKET SNAPSHOT

This announcement about Salix’s upcoming launch follows the introduction of a similar AI tool in India by Apollo Hospitals last week. The Apollo AI-powered Cardiovascular Disease Risk tool was developed using ten years’ worth of data collected from over 400,000 patients. It predicts a patient’s risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, taking into account their lifestyle attributes and vital signs.

ON THE RECORD

“Salix unlocks the capability to triage patients into risk categories, identifying those patients who require further clinical assessments and those who can be reassured. Importantly, Salix will provide clinicians with the best available technology allowing them to spend more time with patients and therefore ensuring better outcomes. It will also improve workflow at radiology practices and make cardiac CT scan reporting more efficient and accurate,” Artrya Chief Medical Officer Girish Dwivedi said.

“From the time a scan is completed, within a few minutes I can select the patient of highest interest, and all the vessels are tracked; lesions are identified and assessed; the calcium score is calculated; and a report is written – all before I touch the keyboard,” Dr Lawrence Dembo, a cardiologist from Envision Medical Imaging, attested.

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By seohan