Oregonians who have family medical histories that include heart failure or are at increased risk due to other factors may be interested in a technological development that seems like science fiction. In April 2016, researchers with a North Carolina health network announced they had devised a method of using computers to predict heart failure incidents up to nine months before doctors could deliver the news. Although this wasn't the first instance of medical professionals attempting to predict heart failure with computers, it employed a novel approach that relied on artificial intelligence.
Notably, the technology used graphics processing units, or GPUs, that were arranged in a neural network with learning capabilities. This approach allowed them to train their artificial intelligence software to conduct its own rapid assessments of around 265,000 electronic health records. By comparing 3,884 patients who had been diagnosed with heart failure to a control group of 28,900 others, the machines were able to identify markers that predicted heart failure.
According to the manufacturer of the GPUs used in the study, the researchers plan on tackling other illnesses next, such as potentially fatal ER sepsis. Doctors may soon gain access to the tools as well, which could make a significant difference to the 6 million Americans who experience heart failure annually.
Serious diseases like cardiac failure may defy traditional diagnostic methods until patients are already experiencing symptoms. This form of failure to diagnose could result in sufferers not getting the correct treatments or medication until it's too late. In some instances, such delays let diseases worsen until victims require more extensive care, which might be associated with heightened medical costs. Those who have been diagnosed incorrectly may want to learn about their legal options for pursuing damages.