Echo IQ’s innovative AI solution to transform aortic stenosis diagnosis

Prof Michael Feneley, Director Cardiology and Heart Lung Program at St Vincent's Hospital
Prof Michael Feneley, Director Cardiology and Heart Lung Program at St Vincent's Hospital

ASX-listed company Echo IQ released results from their study demonstrating the power of their AI decision support software, EchoSolv™ to dramatically improve the diagnosis for cardiologists of one of the most common forms of heart disease, aortic stenosis (AS).

How does EchoSolv™ compliment diagnosis?

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, and AS is one of the most common forms of  heart valve disease managed by doctors in clinical practice. EchoSolvTM uses AI to assess echocardiographic measurements, making it easier and more reliable for a cardiologist to identify AS.

A study recently completed at St. Vincent’s Hospital (Sydney and Melbourne) has shown the benefits of using EchoSolv to compliment human diagnosis. The results showed: 

  • 72% more patients with Severe AS were identified when EchoSolv was used to assess patient records versus current clinical practice of using human diagnosis alone.
  • Women were 66% less likely to be accurately diagnosed than men through human diagnosis alone, demonstrating an unconscious bias that EchoSolv was able to address.
  • When patients were under-identified using human diagnosis alone, there was a low rate of aortic valve replacement, the key treatment for Severe AS.

What does the tech mean for the health sector?

Director Cardiology and Heart Lung Program at St Vincent’s Hospital, Prof Michael Feneley, said: “This study shows not only the effectiveness of novel technologies such as EchoSolv in enhancing human diagnosis, but also its potential to reduce bias in decision making.”

“With the general ageing of the population leading to the increasing prevalence of aortic stenosis, it is encouraging to see how AI could be used to improve the identification of disease and all the increased opportunities to treat patients in a timely manner this provides.” 

These results reinforce the findings of an earlier proof of concept study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reporting similar results. AS is the narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve through which all blood to the body flows. If undiagnosed and left undertreated, aortic stenosis can make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the aorta and through the body resulting in heart damage, major health problems and even death.

It is estimated that at least of 1.5% of those aged 55 years in high-income countries are affected by severe aortic stenosis (AS), with an estimated 100,000 Australians living with the disease. As the population continues to age in high-income countries like Australia, the future burden of cardiovascular diseases like aortic stenosis (AS) is estimated to also increase.

Despite being so common, AS is difficult to diagnose. When assessing a patient, cardiologists review up to 100 echocardiographic images and about 60 echocardiographic measurements, manually scanning for multiple common problems as well as rarer conditions. The diagnostic process can be prone to human error and unconscious bias. In the US, 1 in 3 malpractice cases resulting in death or permanent disability are due to inaccurate or delayed diagnosis.

The consequences of missed diagnosis, underestimation of severity, under-treatment, or delayed treatment of AS can be drastic, and often fatal. If left untreated, severe AS can lead to death within two years in around half of cases, and over 67% will die within five years.