By Sanjay Mittal
A paradigm shift has been observed in heart health treatments in the country over the past 30 years. Cardiologists are delivering remarkable revolutions in treatment procedures by utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technological developments are allowing for the earlier detection and treatment of severe cases, resulting in better results. Some usages are explained as below:
Artificial intelligence: The combination of AI with clinical practice is improving patient care. Research has proved that applying AI algorithms to ECGs helps to detect anomalies with increased accuracy over the classic ECG LVH criteria. An undetected anomaly due to human error in interpretation and left untreated can lead to heart failure. This can be overcome using AI.
Personalised heart models: This is much of a futuristic approach which is yet to get established in India. Patient-specific 3D heart models can help a doctor better analyse the severity of the condition. In this process, MRI scans of a patient’s heart are converted into a tangible, physical model that surgeons can use to plan surgery in a matter of hours. This is especially useful for cardiac surgeons to plan transplant surgeries and create patient-specific, personalised treatment plans.
University College London researchers created such 3D-printed replicas using MRI data of youngsters born with cardiac abnormalities. Doctors can make use of such models to explain to patients and their kin about their cardiac condition. This individualised approach to cardiac care will in future assist surgeons in determining the optimal treatment options. Medical practitioners have noted that 3-D heart models have ushered in a change in the future of cardiac healthcare.
Heart rhythm monitors: A heart rhythm monitor is a wearable device that helps to detect arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeats). This device being small in size can help doctors monitor a patient’s heart rates for over a longer period of time.
Nano material to combat cholesterol: The use of nanomaterial-based therapies is being considered as a cardiac healthcare method. Nanomaterial-based therapies like polymeric nanoparticles, inorganic nanoparticles, and liposomes can help to lower cholesterol by releasing the drug at the spot of abnormality or rupture. Such therapies are being researched for their diagnostic and imaging properties. Nanomaterials are highly stable and also self-biodegrade upon drug release to the abnormality.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that stroke and ischemic heart disease account for over 17.7 million deaths in India alone. It includes a sizable number of younger people. It is imperative that technology be embraced by healthcare. Technology in medicine will encourage innovations, eliminate drawbacks, create faster and effective healthcare systems, making healthcare accessible to all.
The writer is director, Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, Heart Institute, Medanta, Gurugram