AI Might Help Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death, Research Says

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Nov. 7, 2023 -- Artificial intelligence could help predict and even prevent sudden cardiac death through analyses of electronic health records, new research says.

Scientists looked at the records from 25,000 people who died suddenly and 70,000 who were hospitalized for cardiac arrest. The patients were in Paris and Seattle. The researchers used AI to create “personalized health equations” that identified an individual’s risk of death from sudden cardiac arrest, said the American Heart Association in a press release about the study.

The information will be presented this weekend at the association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium 2023 in Philadelphia.

Sudden cardiac death makes up 10% to 20% of deaths overall, the association says. Predicting it is usually difficult.

“We proposed a new approach not restricted to the usual cardiovascular risk factors but encompassing all medical information available in electronic health records,” said Xavier Jouven, MD, the study’s lead author and a professor at the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center.

Researchers looked at information from more than 1 million hospital diagnoses and 10 million prescriptions. The data was gathered from medical records preceding the deaths by up to 10 years.

“Using AI to analyze the data, researchers built nearly 25,000 equations with personalized health factors used to identify those people who were at very high risk of sudden cardiac death,” the heart association said. 

The equations included medical details, treatment information, and disorders like alcohol abuse.

The AI analysis identified individuals with more than a 90% chance of dying suddenly, representing more than 25% of all sudden cardiac deaths.

“The use of AI is necessary to detect in a given subject a succession of medical information registered over the years that will form a trajectory associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death,” Jouven said. “We hope that with a personalized list of risk factors, patients will be able to work with their clinicians to reduce those risk factors and ultimately decrease the potential for sudden cardiac death.”