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What if your doctor's stethoscope could predict your heart's future? Thanks to artificial intelligence, it's already happening for some Mayo Clinic patients.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:00) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
"This is where it records sound, and I have it connected to a smartphone," explains Dr. Paul Friedman, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, as he demonstrates a souped-up stethoscope that shows artificial intelligence in action.
The stethoscope not only digitally records the sounds heard by Dr. Friedman, it also records an electrocardiogram of the heart's electrical activity.
The data is run through a neural network — a computer system trained by crunching hundreds of thousands of sets of similar readings, so that it becomes expert in looking at a focused problem.
"It gets to a point where it gets very good at seeing very subtle patterns," says Dr. Friedman.
The result is a simple test that can read current heart conditions and, using those subtle patterns, predict possible future problems.
"Within 15 seconds, you have some of the skill of an expert cardiologist in your pocket," adds Dr. Friedman.
He says this type of artificial intelligence in diagnosis is the way of the future.
"We have plans to expand it, to hopefully prevent people from walking through our hallways, having a weak heart pump and having it undetected, when there are things we could do about it," concludes Dr. Friedman.