Category Archives: Cardiology

AZ’s potassium drug Lokelma finally approved in US

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AstraZeneca badly needs new drugs on the market as several former blockbusters have been hit by generic competition – and finally its high potassium treatment Lokelma has been approved by US regulators.

The drug, a highly selective potassium-removing agent, has been approved at the third time of asking by the FDA, which had been concerned about issues at its manufacturing plant in Texas.

European regulators approved the drug formerly known as ZS-9 in March after their concerns over the issues were resolved, and after two previous rejections the US regulator is also satisfied with the technical arrangements at the facility.

AZ gained rights to the drug after buying ZS Pharma in 2015 for $2.7 billion and is designed to treat hyperkalaemia, where high potassium levels threaten kidney and heart function.

Lokelma (sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) will compete with Vifor Pharma group member Relypsa’s rival Veltassa (patiromer), which has been on the market for a few years in the US and Europe.

The Anglo-Swedish pharma has predicted sales in excess of $1 billion annually for ZS-9, although some analysts say this is a conservative estimate.

The risk of hyperkalaemia increases significantly for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and for those who take common medications for heart failure (HF), such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, which can increase potassium in the blood.

To help prevent the recurrence of hyperkalaemia, RAAS-inhibitor therapy is often modified or discontinued, which can compromise cardio-renal outcomes and increase the risk of death.

Sean Bohen, chief medical officer at AstraZeneca, said: “The consequences of hyperkalaemia can be very serious and it’s reassuring for treating physicians that Lokelma has demonstrated lowering of potassium levels in patients with chronic kidney disease, heart failure, diabetes and those taking RAAS inhibitors.”

AZ badly needs the new sales – sales of its Crestor (rosuvastatin), a former blockbuster were down 38% in Q1, to $338 million, and overall revenues fell 4% to just under $5.2 billion.

The company is selling off its old and unwanted drugs to prop up revenues and reduce costs – but this can only be seen as a short-term measure before new revenues come on stream.

CEO Pascal Soriot also faces a shareholder revolt, after more than 37% of shareholders voted against or abstained at the firm’s annual meeting when asked to approve a £9.4m pay package for Soriot, down from £14.3 million last year.

Soriot has set a sales target of above $40 billion by 2023, despite the struggles getting new drugs to the market.

SOURCE: www.pharmaphorum.com/news

New indication for evolocumab in established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

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Amgen has announced announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved a new indication in the Repatha® (evolocumab) label for adults with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke or peripheral arterial disease) to reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels.

With the expanded label now in place, Amgen is working with payers in Europe to remove prescribing barriers and expand access in order to reach patients with established cardiovascular disease who are at risk of another event.

“With its proven ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes, Repatha offers hope for one of the greatest health challenges we face today. However, the majority of patients in Europe who could benefit from treatment with a PCSK9 inhibitor remain unserved and at risk of a cardiovascular event,” said Anthony C. Hooper, executive vice president of Global Commercial Operations at Amgen. “To help ensure eligible patients around the world can access and benefit from Repatha, Amgen is willing to work in partnership with payers to help manage affordability concerns from increased patient access. Furthermore, we are committed to excellence in LDL-C management and collaborating with healthcare providers to deliver comprehensive solutions for patients.”

Of all the modifiable risk factors for heart attack and stroke, lowering high LDL-C is one of the most important and impactful.1,2 Yet, even among patients currently taking a lipid-lowering therapy, many patients still have high LDL-C levels and remain at risk for cardiovascular events. Repatha is a groundbreaking medicine proven to significantly lower “bad cholesterol” or LDL-C for high-risk patients who suffer from a combination of high LDL-C and cardiovascular disease, and who continue to struggle with lowering their LDL-C levels despite statin therapy.

“We know that patients with a previous history of cardiovascular events are at an increased risk of subsequent events, especially in the first year,”3-5 said Sean E. Harper, MD, executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. “With far too many patients at risk of recurrent cardiovascular events, we are pleased that the European Commission has approved Repatha to prevent heart attacks and strokes in adults with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The science clearly indicates that ‘lower LDL-C is better’ and this approval underscores the role for Repatha among high-risk patients for whom statins alone are not enough.”

The approval by the EC recognises the positive findings from the Repatha cardiovascular outcomes study (FOURIER), expanding the label to include data on the additional reduction and prevention of heart attacks, strokes and coronary revascularisations on top of maximally tolerated statin therapy. FOURIER showed reductions in the risk of heart attack by 27%, the risk of stroke by 21% and the risk of coronary revascularisation procedures by 22% in patients treated with Repatha and statin therapy compared to patients treated with placebo and statin therapy over a mean duration of 26 months.6

References

  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. How To Prevent and Control Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors. Accessed April 10, 2018
  2. Kuklina, EV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: prevalence, treatment, and control of high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. United States, 1999–2002 and 2005–2008. MMWR. 2011;60(4):109–14
  3. Mohan KM, et al. Stroke. 2011;42:1489-94
  4. Bhatt DL, et al. JAMA.  2010;304:1350-7.
  5. Jernberg, T., et al. Eur Heart J. 2015. 36(19), 1163-117
  6. Sabatine MS, Giugliano RP, Keech AC, et al, for the FOURIER Steering Committee and Investigators. N Engl J Med. Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease. 2017;376:1713-22.

SOURCE: www.hospitalpharmacyeurope.com/editors-pick

Biosense Webster enrolls and treats first patient in QDOT AF study

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Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies announced today that Biosense Webster, a worldwide leader in the diagnosis and treatment of heart arrhythmias, has enrolled and treated the first patient in its QDOT AF Study.

The study will evaluate the delivery of high power, short duration ablation with QDOT MICRO, a novel radiofrequency (RF) ablation catheter for the treatment of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). The first AF patient was treated at OLV Hospital in Aalst, Belgium, one of eight centers in Europe part of the study that will be enrolling up to 50 patients.

AF is fast becoming one of the world’s most significant health issues – affecting 14 million people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as placing a critical burden on healthcare systems with up to 2.5% of total healthcare expenditure associated with the disease.

QDOT MICRO is a next generation catheter designed to treat AF in a catheter ablation procedure. In what will be a world-first, it delivers 90 watts of RF power in a four-second temperature-controlled catheter ablation session. Its optimized temperature control and micro-electrode technology is designed to provide more efficient and consistent lesion creation with advanced diagnostics, while simplifying the technique and reducing total ablation time.

“The concept of high power short duration ablation is novel and a potentially groundbreaking advancement for the industry,” said Tom De Potter, MD, FEHRA, Associate Director, Cardiovascular Center Department of Cardiology, Electrophysiology Section at OLV Hospital. “The new modality could result in improvements in clinical outcomes and procedural efficiencies and I look forward to further investigation.” Dr De Potter performed the first QDOT MICRO procedure, and is one of the study clinical investigators.

QDOT MICRO, which is only available for investigational use in Europe, is a steerable multi-electrode catheter with a deflectable tip designed to facilitate electrophysiological mapping of the heart and to transmit RF current to the catheter tip electrode for ablation purposes. In addition to force-sensing technology, the catheter incorporates six thermocouple temperature sensors and three micro electrodes embedded in its tip.

“For over 20 years Biosense Webster has pioneered the development of atrial fibrillation treatment” explains Gabriele Fischetto (Vice President of Johnson & Johnson Cardiovascular Specialty Solutions in EMEA). “QDOT MICRO continues our commitment to deliver solutions that help clinicians heal more hearts and has the potential to increase the standard of treatment for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation”.

SOURCE: www.news-medical.net/news/20180511

3-D printing is transforming care for congenital heart disease

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3-D printing is an emerging technology that is impacting the way cardiologists treat patients with congenital heart disease.

3-D printing is an emerging technology that is impacting the way cardiologists treat patients with congenital heart disease (CHD).

In cardiovascular 3-D printing, the 3-D model is a replica of a patient’s anatomy. These models may be used for precise pre-surgical planning and simulation. This may potentially reduce time spent in the operating room and result in fewer complications.

3-D printing also has the potential to bring transformative change in the education and training of physicians. This technology may lead to an educational shift from an apprenticeship model to a simulator-based learning method that augments traditional mentored training. 3-D models in CHD can reduce the learning curve for cardiac trainees in three key areas–understanding complex 3-D anatomy, high-fidelity simulation experiences and exposure to rare cases.

Experienced practitioners can also benefit by using models for lifelong learning, maintenance of certification or for practice before challenging cases.

Additionally, 3-D models serve a communicative purpose as well. Models can be used between specialists to discuss pathology, surgical plans, anticipated outcomes and peri-operative care, which may reduce medical errors. Models can also be used to help the medical team provide patients and caregivers with a better understanding of the disease process, risks, benefits and alternatives.

“3-D printing is rapidly evolving in medicine, with technical improvements in printers and software fueling new and exciting applications in patient care, innovation and research,” said Dr Shafkat Anwar, a paediatric cardiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine. “The ultimate viability of medical 3-D printing will in large part depend on the impact it has on improving patient care,” he added.

Dr Anwar and colleagues said they predict that the next advances in 3-D printing will likely be driven by improvements in printer technology and print materials. Tissue mimicking materials, which would enable the creation of more life-like models that replicate a patient’s unique anatomy and physiology, are currently in development. As models become more realistic, they may be used to study pathophysiology–or the functional changes observed from a particular disease or syndrome–as well as predict long-term outcomes and choose optimal treatment plans or surgical repairs. Finally, while the technology is in its infancy, there is the potential to print living tissue.

While this technology has the potential to be game-changing, broad adoption is currently hampered by relatively high costs of modelling and printing.

The review paper has been published today in JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

SOURCE: www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/75381

GlaxoSmithKline and Innoviva publish positive new IMPACT data

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GlaxoSmithKline, alongside Nasdaq-listed partner Innoviva, announced the publication of the landmark IMPACT study – one of the biggest ever conducted in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with a history of exacerbation – in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 pharmaceutical giant said that in the study, ‘Trelegy Ellipta’ (fluticasone furoate/umeclidinium/vilanterol) achieved superiority to members of two different classes of dual combination therapy, Relvar/Breo and Anoro, on the primary endpoint of reduction in the annual rate of on-treatment moderate/severe exacerbations and a range of other clinically important outcomes, including lung function and health-related quality of life.

It said results from additional secondary and other endpoints included a “statistically significant” 34% reduction in COPD hospitalisations for Trelegy compared to Anoro, and a reduction of 13% compared to Relvar/Breo, which was not statistically significant.

They also included a “significant” reduction in the risk of on-treatment all-cause mortality, observed for both inhaled corticosteroid containing arms compared to Anoro.

A 42.1% reduction in the risk of on-treatment all-cause mortality was observed for Trelegy compared to Anoro as well.

To fully understand the implications of the all-cause mortality observation, off-treatment data also needed to be considered, GSK explained.

Work was ongoing to investigate that further, and would be presented at future scientific meetings.

“Reducing exacerbations to keep patients out of hospital is a key goal of COPD management alongside improving lung function and quality of life,” said Dave Allen, GSK’s head of respiratory therapy area research and development.

“The IMPACT study shows how Trelegy Ellipta can help patients with a history of exacerbation achieve these goals.

“We believe its publication in NEJM is an important addition to the evidence base that informs the management of this progressive and debilitating disease.”

Dr Fernando Martinez, chief of the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said IMPACT “significantly advances” medicine’s understanding of COPD management by addressing a number of key evidence gaps.

“By comparing various combinations of effective medications in the same device the study clarifies which type of patient gains greatest benefit from each class of medicine,” Dr Martinez explained.

“As many patients experience frequent exacerbations or ‘flare ups’, which can often result in hospitalisation, these data will be highly relevant to patients and clinicians as they consider the optimal treatment.”

GSK and Innoviva said the safety profile of single inhaler triple therapy was consistent with the safety profile of the individual components.

The most common adverse events across the treatment groups were viral upper respiratory tract infection, worsening of COPD, upper respiratory tract infection, pneumonia and headache.

Consistent with previous studies, the incidence of pneumonia as a serious adverse event was 4%, 4%, and 3% for FF/UMEC/VI, FF/VI and UMEC/VI, respectively.

“The role of inhaled corticosteroids in COPD have long been debated, and this landmark trial provides further evidence of their benefit in the population studied and compelling data towards clarifying the role of ICS containing regimens in the COPD treatment paradigm,” said Dr Ted Witek, Innoviva’s senior vice president and chief scientific officer.

“We congratulate our partners at GSK for this vital contribution to the field of respiratory medicine.”

Results from IMPACT were submitted to the regulatory authorities in the US and EU in November 2017 and February this year, respectively.

Further regulatory submissions in other countries were expected during 2018.

SOURCE: www.uk.webfg.com/news/news-and-announcements

Novo Nordisk and Red Cross to tackle NCDs in humanitarian crises

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Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has announced it will work with The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Danish Red Cross (DRC) to tackle chronic care in humanitarian crises.

The partnership will tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs)─a  growing issue that affect millions of people living in humanitarian crises around the world.

NCDs are long-term conditions that generally progress slowly, such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma and diabetes. Although NCDs affect many of the 65 million people currently fleeing conflict, this is not reflected in resources for humanitarian crises, which focus instead on more acute health threats such as infectious diseases and injuries.

There is a great unmet need for those living with NCDs in humanitarian crises, with the risk of exacerbating chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension two to three times higher than beforehand.

The partnership will focus on three main areas: supplying low-cost human insulin to Red Cross operations globally, Novo Nordisk supporting ICRC’s and DRC’s health programmes particularly efforts to improve NCD prevention, and projects to provide care to people with hypertension and diabetes in humanitarian crises.

Novo Nordisk will adapt its ordering and production procedures to better serve the needs of humanitarian organisations and share its knowledge on handling and distributing cold chain products. The company will make a financial contribution of DKK 21.5m.

The ICRC and DRC will be responsible for the implementation of demonstration projects on the ground.

ICRC president Peter Maurer said: “Non-communicable diseases are a silent killer and often overlooked during times of armed conflict. All people need access to appropriate health infrastructure and medicines to manage their health. If you look at Yemen, Syria, Iraq and beyond, thousands will remain with life-threatening illnesses if they are not able to receive essential medical supplies such as insulin to treat diabetes.”

The partnership will also collaborate with the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

DRC secretary general Anders Ladekarl said: “As partner organisations we will use our influence and scale to do more to address the needs of people living with NCDs in humanitarian crises, and advocate together with other humanitarian and health actors to promote this agenda. This partnership is a first step in realising our collective aspiration that all people with NCDs in humanitarian settings have access to care.”

Several other pharmaceutical companies have joined efforts to tackle NDCs in developing countries in recent years, with GlaxoSmithKline partnering with UK and South African medical research councils to carry out research on NCDs in Africa in 2014, and Novartis and the International Committee of the Red Cross supplying NCD drugs to refugee camps in Lebanon in 2016.

SOURCE: www.pharmaceutical-technology.com

Stroke prevention drugs may help reduce dementia risk for atrial fibrillation patients

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Patients with atrial fibrillation could reduce the risk of dementia by taking stroke prevention medications, according to recommendations published online in EP Europace, a European Society of Cardiology journal, and presented at EHRA 2018.

The international consensus document was also published in HeartRhythm, the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), and Journal of Arrhythmia, the official journal of the Japanese Heart Rhythm Society (JHRS) and the Asia Pacific Heart Rhythm Society (APHRS).

The expert consensus statement on arrhythmias and cognitive function was developed by the EHRA, a branch of the ESC; the HRS; the APHRS; and the Latin American Heart Rhythm Society (LAHRS).

Heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias), as well as some procedures undertaken to treat them, can increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. The international consensus document was written for doctors specialising in arrhythmias and aims to raise awareness of the risks of cognitive impairment and dementia and how to reduce them.

The document states that atrial fibrillation is associated with a higher risk for cognitive impairment and dementia, even in the absence of apparent stroke. This may be because atrial fibrillation is linked with a more than two-fold risk of silent strokes. The accumulation of silent strokes and the associated brain injuries over time may contribute to cognitive impairment.

Stroke prevention with oral anticoagulant drugs is the main priority in the management of patients with atrial fibrillation. The consensus document says that oral anticoagulation may reduce the risk of dementia.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline in patients with atrial fibrillation. This includes not smoking and preventing or controlling hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and sleep apnoea.

“Patients with atrial fibrillation may be able to reduce their risk of cognitive impairment and dementia by taking their oral anticoagulation medication and having a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr Nikolaos Dagres, lead author and consultant, Department of Electrophysiology, Heart Centre Leipzig, Germany.

The document also reviews the association between other arrhythmias and cognitive dysfunction, including post-cardiac arrest, in patients with cardiac implantable devices such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and pacemakers, and ablation procedures.

Treatment of atrial fibrillation with catheter ablation can itself lead to silent strokes and cognitive impairment. To reduce the risk, physicians should follow recommendations for performing ablation and for the management of patients before and after the procedure.

The consensus document notes that physicians may suspect cognitive impairment if a patient’s appearance or behaviour changes — for example, if appointments are missed. Family members should be asked for collateral information. If suspicions are confirmed, the consensus document recommends tools to conduct an objective assessment of cognitive function.

The paper highlights gaps in knowledge and areas for further research. These include, for instance, how to identify atrial fibrillation patients at increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, the effect of rhythm control on cognitive function, and the impact of cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) on cognitive function.

SOURCE: www.hospitalhealthcare.com/editors-pick

Summit Therapeutics to expand clinical trials after healthy interim results

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Summit Therapeutics will expand enrollment in its phase 2 clinical trials studying the effect of ezutromid treatment on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the company said on Wednesday.

The PhaseOut DMD trial is a multi-centre, 48 week open-label clinical trial with 40 enrolled patients between the ages of five and ten who suffer from DMD which will be enhanced by the newly announced parallel running expansion.

David Roblin, chief operating and medical officer of Summit, said: “We are extremely grateful to the patients who participated in our Phase 1 clinical trials and contributed to ezutromid’s clinical advancement, but were not initially eligible to participate in our Phase 2 clinical trial. Accordingly, we are pleased to open this additional group in our Phase 2 and provide these patients with the opportunity to receive ezutromid treatment.”

Patients with DMD will be eligible for the expanded trial regardless of their age or ambulatory status.

DMD is a muscle wasting disease that affects approximately 50,000 men and boys in the developed world and is caused by genetic faults in the gene that codes dystrophin and thus preventing the healthy function of all muscles.

The orally administered small molecule drug is intended to modulate utrophin, a protein functionally and structurally similar to dystrophin, with the aim of slowing or even halting DMD.

Recently announced 24 week interim data from the trials demonstrated that compared to baseline, ezutromid significantly reduced muscle damage and muscle inflammation attributed to the disease.

“We expect the data collected from this additional group of patients will help expand our understanding of ezutromid’s safety and efficacy profile across a broader patient population,” said Roblin.

Ezutromid has been granted Fast Track designation and Rare Pediatric Disease designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as orphan drug status which allows for additional regulatory support and a period of market exclusivity following approval.

SOURCE: www.uk.webfg.com/news

NICE ‘considering’ evidence to cut treatment threshold for hypertension

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NICE is considering new evidence which led to drastically lowered hypertension thresholds in the US.

The clinical advisory body, which is currently reviewing UK hypertension guidelines with a view to updating them in August 2019, told Pulse the reviews were ‘asking the same questions’.

The new US guidelines, published by the American Heart Association, decreased the threshold for stage one hypertension from an average systolic blood pressure of 140 to 130 mmHg, and from ≥160 to ≥140 mmHg for stage two.

Researchers said the changes could mean an extra 14% of people were diagnosed with hypertension, which would bring the total number to 46% of the country’s population.

The change was prompted by the 2015 SPRINT study, which showed that by treating patients with a target blood pressure of 120 mmHg, rather than the 140 mmHg target, mortality and cardiovascular events were significantly reduced.

When asked whether the changes brought in the US would be considered in the updated UK guidelines, a NICE spokesperson said: ‘Yes, we are asking some of the same questions being considered in the US and in doing so will be considering some of the same evidence.’

Current NICE guidelines define stage one hypertension as an average blood pressure of 135/85 mmHg or higher, and stage two as 150/95 mmHg or higher. It states that doctors should ‘offer antihypertensive drug treatment to people of any age with stage two hypertension’.

If the UK were to follow the US example, many patients currently defined as having stage one and treated with lifestyle changes could be pushed into stage two and medicated.

But this comes as last year, a meta analysis of 24 studies found that the evidence for reducing blood pressure targets to below 140 mmHg in over-60s was inconsistent.

The paper said that although lowering the targets could be beneficial, they could also be linked with a higher medication burden and an increased risk of short-term issues, such as hypotension.

Cardiology expert Dr Chris Aden, a GP in Southampton, said: ‘It’s going to be challenging in terms of the numbers they’re suggesting.

‘I think it’s down to good clinical common sense in how we apply it, particularly in the elderly or more frail groups’.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘Lowering the threshold for making the diagnosis of any condition is a significant decision, that will affect thousands, if not millions of patients, and must not be taken lightly.’

‘One concern GPs already have is overdiagnosis – where we are giving a label to a situation thereby medicalising it, and prescribing medications when the benefits to the individual patient may be very limited.

‘This can be harmful for patients both in terms of causing unnecessary anxiety, and in terms of taking medication that they might not need.’

Pulse revealed in 2016 that new evidence including the SPRINT trial had prompted NICE advisors to consider updating hypertension guidelinesfor the first time since they were published in 2011.

Hypertension guidelines in full

New US classification

Normal <120/80 mmHg

Elevated 120-129/<80 mmHg

Stage 1 hypertension 130-139/80-89 mmHg

Stage 2 hypertension ≥140/90 mmHg

Current NICE guideline

Stage 1 hypertension – Clinic blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher and subsequent ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) daytime average or home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) average blood pressure is 135/85 mmHg or higher

Stage 2 hypertension – Clinic blood pressure is 160/100 mmHg or higher and subsequent ABPM daytime average or HBPM average blood pressure is 150/95 mmHg or higher

Severe hypertension – Clinic systolic blood pressure is 180 mmHg or higher or clinic diastolic blood pressure is 110 mmHg or higher

SOURCE: www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clinical-news

AI predicts heart attack risk factors from retinal scans

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Artificial Intelligence can be used to predict heart attack risk using retinal images, according to new research backed by Google.

The researchers trained deep learning algorithms on data from thousands of patients recorded in a massive UK study, which was used with retinal scans to produce a program that can identify risk factors from the scan information alone.

This predicted cardiovascular risk factors not previously thought to be quantifiable using retinal images: these included age, gender, smoking status, gender, systolic blood pressure and major adverse cardiac events.

Reporting results in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team used a dataset from the UK’s Biobank, a study where 500,000 were recruited between 2006 and 2010, and agreed to have certain health measurements recorded.

Health outcomes such as hospitalisation, mortality and cause of death were also logged. Smoking status was obtained via survey using a touchscreen interface in the research backed by Google and Verily, Alphabet’s healthcare subsidiary.

Participants were also asked to identify whether they are a current smoker, former smoker, or had never smoked, and blood pressure readings were also taken.

A further 67,725 had paired images of their retina fundus taken, along with a second group that was used to create a training dataset with known risk factors.

The researchers asked a neural network to make an output prediction based on the fundus image.

It was able to analyse images from the group with unknown risk factors, compare it with the training data set and after the process was repeated, was eventually able to predict cardiovascular risk factors from new images.

This is just the latest in a series of studies showing the potential of AI to predict healthcare outcomes, saving lives and reducing costs by ensuring patients receive timely and sometimes life-saving treatments.

Early last month, the government’s life sciences tsar, Sir John Bell, said that similar techniques could save the NHS billions.

A team at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital is using AI to identify abnormalities in ECG read-outs that could be missed by the human eye, for instance.

The hope is that this system could be used in hospitals across the country to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations caused by false positives, and prevent heart attacks where at-risk patients are sent home because doctors have failed to spot problems.

Another AI system outperformed a panel of experts when asked to diagnose breast cancer based on stained tissue samples, in a separate study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month.

SOURCE: www.pharmaphorum.com/news