AI streamlines checks of coronary arteries

Artificial intelligence has been introduced for coronary CT angiography to improve the efficiency and reduce radiation for patients.

Shanghai Chest Hospital says it is able to improve efficiency by 90 percent and help patients avoid 80 percent of radiation exposure as checks are much quicker and more convenient than before.

After introducing AI into coronary CT angiography in May, the hospital has conducted checks on around 10,000 patients. Waiting times have shortened from a month to just two to three days.

There are 290 million people in China with cardiovascular disease, the top cause of death.

Coronary CT angiography is the only non-invasive method for coronary artery imaging and the golden standard for diagnosis.

“Previously, patients should keep their heartbeat stable and hold their breath during checks, which should scan the heart for five to six heartbeats for the entire coronary artery imaging. Some patients have to take medicine to control their heartbeat and many patients refuse the check due to the requirements. The time for each patient is about 30 minutes as doctors should build the images of coronary arteries through some 300 pictures manually,” said Yu Hong, director of Shanghai Chest Hospital’s radiology department.

Through AI technology, the system can rebuild all the arteries image just through one heartbeat and complete a 3D image in five minutes. The system can identify risks and give suggestions to doctors, who only need to verify the results.

“After the check becomes more simple and convenient, it can be used for regular health checkups for those with high risk factors like those with a family history, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smokers over 45 years old,” said Jiang Yifeng, vice director of the hospital’s radiology department.

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