New AI can Detect Plaque Erosion, could Help Avoid Heart Attacks

Researchers have made a new AI method that can find plaque erosion in the arteries of the heart. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) images are used by the tech to look at the arterial plaque.

This finding is helpful because a heart attack or other serious heart disease can start before the plaque breaks down. OCT can take 3D pictures of the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood to the muscles of the heart.

Also, OCT has been used to look for plaque erosion. But because there are so many data points and the images are hard to understand, the results are very different. AI was used by researchers to figure out how to fix this problem.

How does the AI tech work?

New AI model detects plaque erosion in arteries
Photo Credit: Indiatimes

The new method for AI is made up of two main steps. First, an AI model called a neural network looks at the original image and two shapes to predict where plaque erosion will happen.

The prediction is then made even better by a post-processing algorithm that imitates the knowledge of a professional doctor to make a diagnosis.

Zhao Wang from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China says, “We had to make a new AI model that includes explicit shape information, which is the key feature used to find plaque erosion in OCT images. The underlying intravascular OCT imaging technology is also important because it is currently the highest resolution imaging modality that can be used to diagnose plaque erosion in living patients.

Researchers tested the new method and found that the automated method could predict 80% of plaque erosion cases with a 73.3% positive predictive value. Also, the AI’s diagnoses were the same as those made by doctors with years of experience.

Zhao said, “Our new method could help improve how plaque erosion is diagnosed in the clinic and be used to make new treatments for people with heart disease.”

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