Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, and its worldwide prevalence continues to rise: nearly 17.9 million people die of CVDs each year. It is a consensus in the clinical community that early detection of heart conditions could reduce CVD-related death rates and save many lives. However, traditional heart tests such as CT, MRI scans, or echocardiograms are too expensive to scale to high-risk populations, making them inaccessible and limiting the reach of early detection. LEPU Medical is working to combat this with the Carewell AI-ECG Platform which can classify over 12 heartbeat waveforms and over 70 different heart problems and abnormalities at over 95% overall clinically validated accuracy.
With the rising importance and technological breakthroughs of artificial intelligence (AI) in medical applications in the past few years, clinicians, scientists and engineers have begun to utilize AI to develop widely available low-cost, high efficiency solutions to detect cardiovascular diseases in their early phases, such as asymptomatic left ventricular dysfunction.
LEPU Medical, one of China’s leading healthcare companies specializing in cardiovascular disease, chose ECG (electrocardiogram) as its first AI-healthcare initiative because it is the most frequently used, effective, and economical tool to help physicians detect irregularities in patient heart rhythm and structure. However, routine clinical ECG diagnosis still faces challenges including weak signal, large variability, noise disturbance, significant individual patient difference, and low overall accuracy.
LEPU Medical believes that AI can play a big role in addressing these issues. Based on its high-quality ECG data collected over the last decade from millions of patients and its domain expertise in CVDs, LEPU Medical has added an AI feature to its proprietary digitized ECG design along with services to interpret multi-lead raw ECG data. LEPU AI-ECG technology is a comprehensive deep learning-based analysis pipeline that provides synchronous automatic interpretation of multi-lead raw ECG data. LEPU Medical leverages systems powered by the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit based on Intel® Core™ and Intel® Atom™ based Processors with improved acceleration from the Intel® Neural Compute Stick 2 featuring the Intel® Movidius™ Myriad™ X VPU to optimize LEPU AI-ECG’s AI inference performance in its end-to-end solutions, which greatly enables systematic, convenient and cost-effective deployments in clinical environment. The Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit is a free software kit that helps developers and data scientists speed up computer vision workloads and streamline deep learning deployments from the network edge to the cloud. In 2018, LEPU AI-ECG became the first FDA 510(k)-cleared and CE-certified Chinese ECG analysis software powered by Intel AI technologies, like the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit (FDA 501(K): K180432; CE Mark: Q5 0500440 0027).
Chinese cardiologist Dr. Qian Jianan, a former editorial committee member of the Chinese Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine, gave a positive statement on this innovative technology: “With an overall accuracy of 95%, LEPU AI-ECG’s outstanding performance and accuracy makes it a vital and irreplaceable tool for clinical physicians compared to traditional ECG software.” Early this year, a study carried out by the Mayo Clinic and published in the journal Nature Medicine, also revealed that applying AI to a widely available, inexpensive test can help detect a heart condition that is a precursor to heart failure.
At CMEF 2019 (China Medical Equipment Fair, the biggest medical device event in Asia), held in Shanghai, LEPU Medical and Intel co-announced their strategic collaboration on AI Healthcare. Both sides committed to leverage respective capabilities and resources to solve more challenging unmet clinical needs, and to accelerate AI technology adoption in this fast-growing medical territory, especially in cardiovascular diseases field.