Artificial intelligence can improve X-ray identification of pacemakers in emergencies

Researchers have created new artificial intelligence (AI) software that can identify cardiac rhythm devices in x-ray images more accurately and quickly than current methods.  The team believes this software could speed up the diagnosis and treatment of patients with faulty devices in an emergency setting.

The software, created by researchers at Imperial College London and funded by the NIHR Imperial BRC, Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation, has been able to identify the make and model of different cardiac rhythm devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, within seconds.

Dr James Howard, Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, said: “Pacemakers and defibrillators have improved the lives of millions of patients from around the world.  However, in some rare cases these devices can fail and patients can deteriorate as a result.  In these situations, clinicians must quickly identify the type of device a patient has so they can provide treatment such as changing the device’s settings or replacing the leads.  Unfortunately, current methods are slow and out-dated and there is a real need to find new and improved ways of identifying devices during emergency settings.  Our new software could be a solution as it can identify devices accurately and instantly.  This could help clinicians make the best decisions for treating patients.”

The researchers will aim to carry out a further trial to validate the results in a larger group of patients and investigate ways to create a more portable device that can be used on hospital wards.

Click here to read the full story by Maxine Myers, Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre.