AI in Cardiology: A Marriage Made in Heaven – or Hell?
The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – one of the most divisive issues in cardiology – was debated during a session of the European Society of Cardiology annual congress.
Two leading experts argued the pros and cons of its use, exploring its benefits and advantages to cardiac care, as well as highlighting the pitfalls and shortcomings of AI, while underlining the need for clear guidelines and regulations for its use going forward.
The Great Debate sessions at the ESC 2021 online congress chose important – and controversial - subjects, with protagonists arguing their own viewpoint. In the discussion, “Great Debate: artificial intelligence in cardiology – a marriage made in heaven or hell?”, Professor Folkert Asselbergs outlined the benefits, while Professor Alan Fraser discussed a counter position. In opening the debate Chair Martin Cowie, Professor of Cardiology at the Brompton Hospital London and King’s College London, and chair of ESC digital health committee, said AI is a topic that most divides opinion among cardiologists.
Professor Asselbergs suggested that AI and cardiology cannot live without each other. It can support admin and keeping track of research developments, leaving cardiologists more time to focus on patients.
AI also has benefits in imaging, such as helping measure septal thickness in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients with much less variation than clinicians,” said Professor Asselbergs, who is Professor of Precision Medicine at the Institute of Health Informatics and the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London. It can also extract data from a 12-lead ECG to predict atrial fibrillation or ejection fraction, and can be a screening tool, not only for experts or academic cardiologists but also in primary care where there is less experience in evaluating ECGs.
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