Researchers from Mayo Clinic and AliveCor Inc. have been using artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a mobile device that can identify certain patients at risk of sudden cardiac death. This research has yielded a breakthrough in determining the health of the electrical recharging system in a patient’s heart. The researchers determined that a smartphone-enabled mobile EKG device can rapidly and accurately determine a patient’s QTc, thereby identifying patients at risk of sudden cardiac death from congenital long QT syndrome (LQTS) or drug-induced QT prolongation.
The heart beats by a complex system of electrical signals triggering regular and necessary contractions. Clinicians evaluate the heart’s rate-corrected QT interval, or QTc, as a vital health barometer of the heart’s electrical recharging system. A potentially dangerous prolonged QTc, which is equal to or longer than 50 milliseconds, can be caused by:
- More than 100 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Genetics, including congenital long QT syndrome.
- Many systemic diseases, including even SARS-CoV-2-mediated COVID-19.
Such a prolonged QTc can predispose people to dangerously fast and chaotic heartbeats, and even sudden cardiac death. For over 100 years, QTc assessment and monitoring has relied heavily on the 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG). But that could be about to change, according to this research.
Under the direction of Michael Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., a genetic cardiologist at Mayo Clinic, researchers trained and validated an AI-based deep neural network to detect QTc prolongation using AliveCor’s KardiaMobile 6L EKG device. The findings, which were published in Circulation, compared the ability of an AI-enabled mobile EKG to a traditional 12-lead EKG in detecting QT prolongation.
“This collaborative effort with investigators from academia and industry has yielded what I call a ‘pivot’ discovery,” says Dr. Ackerman, who is director of Mayo Clinic’s Windland Smith Rice Comprehensive Sudden