New algorithm can predict heart attack: researchers

LONDON - Researchers have developed a new machine-learning algorithm that can predict heart attacks up to four hours before doctors can.

Code Blue events, which include cardiac or respiratory arrest, can be difficult to anticipate, researchers said. Doctors use a scorecard, known as the Modified Early Warning Score, to estimate the severity of a patient's status by looking at vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, Daily Mail reported.

Sriram Somanchi of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and his colleagues wanted to see if a computer could predict when these emergencies were imminent.

The researchers trained a machine-learning algorithm on data from 133,000 patients who visited the North Shore University Health System, a partnership of four Chicago hospitals, between 2006 and 2011.

Doctors called a Code Blue 815 times. By looking at 72 parameters in patients' medical history including vital signs, age, blood glucose and platelet counts, the system was able to tell, sometimes from data from four hours before an event, whether a patient would have gone into arrest.

It guessed correctly about two-thirds of the time, while a scorecard flagged just 30 per cent of the events. To improve its performance, the team is planning to train the system with data from other hospitals.


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