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Research yields breakthrough in mobile determination of QT prolongation

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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 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

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When can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

​With vaccines becoming available to protect against COVID-19, we’ve made a big step toward stopping the virus that causes this deadly disease. The first vaccines released are authorized for emergency use in adults and teens who are at least 16 years old. High-risk groups such as elderly people and frontline health care workers are first in line to receive them, with other adults and teens likely to have access later in 2021.

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Before COVID-19 vaccines becomes available for younger teens and children, clinical trials need to be completed. This is to ensure they are safe and effective for these age groups. Children are not little adults; we can’t just assume a vaccine will have the same effect on a child as it does for someone older.

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Will there be a vaccine before the 2021-22 school year?

The timing of vaccine availability will depend on the results of the trials of the vaccine in adolescents and children that are planned or underway now. But based on the current pace of research, it may be possible to have a vaccine for at least some age groups of children and adolescents before the 2021-22
school year begins.

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