AI heart disease tool scoops NHS award

An AI cardiac diagnostic tool that is speeding up heart function assessments and reducing MRI scan reporting time has won The Future NHS Award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards ceremony.

Developed by scientists and clinicians from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield’s Insigneo Institute, the tool provides a fast analysis of heart function, automatically performing tasks to measure heart damage seen on MR images in seconds.

The tool was named the overall winner in the national NHS Parliamentary Awards, which celebrates the work of NHS staff who have gone above and beyond in their field. Attended by Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum, the ceremony took place on July 5 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the NHS. The Sheffield team’s work was nominated by Sheffield MP Clive Betts.

Chief executive of the Sheffield trust Kirsten Major said: “Here in Sheffield we have a long history of embracing innovation to improve patients’ lives, and the dedication and compassion of our staff has been a constant theme.

“The innovative use of AI to help diagnose heart problems is a fantastic example of the transformative skill of the team who developed it and is already enabling clinicians to speed up heart disease diagnosis. We are exceptionally proud of the teams within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield who have worked so hard to bring this technology to the NHS.”

The AI cardiac diagnostic tool works by automatically segmenting images taken of the chambers of the heart to analyse its function, performing mathematical and volumetric tasks on a series of more than 180 images taken from a patient’s MRI scan in seconds. Without the technology, these tasks would need to be performed manually. The technology can also monitor changes in pressure that occur over the course of the cardiac cycle, giving more detailed analysis critical to understanding how blood flows in and out of the heart.

Vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield Professor Koen Lamberts said: “We are proud of our long-established and successful relationship with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is at the heart of bringing our innovative translational research to patients. This project is already making a difference to patients’ lives across South Yorkshire and beyond. Congratulations to the collaborative team who have pioneered this cutting-edge AI technology.”

Picture: Pictured with shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (left) and Clive Betts MP (right) are clinical scientist Dr Pete Metherall, consultant radiologist Dr Kavitasagary Karunasaagarar, NIHR clinical lecturer in radiology Dr Samer Alabed, consultant cardiothoracic radiologist and University of Sheffield senior lecturer Dr Andrew Swift and AI senior research scientist Michael Sharkey.

Published on page 28 of the August 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.

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