Newswise — LOS ANGELES -- (June 16, 2022) -- A team from the Smidt Heart Institute and Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai will establish a new program to develop data tools that will help predict which patients could experience heart attacks, heart failure and other cardiac conditions, thanks to a $7 million Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Advanced imaging data could help predict patients’ risk of serious cardiac events, but is so complex that clinicians aren’t always able to use it,” said grant recipient Piotr Slomka, PhD, director of Innovation in Imaging and professor of Cardiology and Medicine in the Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. “This grant will allow us to create artificial intelligence tools that help physicians everywhere identify high-risk patients who would benefit from targeted therapy.” 

Slomka plans to create tools that combine data from positron emission tomography and CT scans to give a clearer picture of patients’ cardiac risk, and to develop a large multicenter registry to collect the data needed to thoroughly test these tools. But the grant, a unique type known as an Outstanding Investigator Award, does not limit the team to one specific project, Slomka said.

“This particular grant allows us to build a program—not just a project—which will expedite our innovative plans,” Slomka said. “In AI, things are changing all the time, and sometimes we find that we could make much more impact if we change direction. The beauty of this grant is that it makes that easy to do.”

Cedars-Sinai is a particularly appropriate place to launch this type of program, said Sumeet Chugh, MD, director of the Division of Artificial Intelligence in Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, and director of the Center for Cardiac Arrest Prevention in the Smidt Heart Institute.  

“Our researchers work hand in hand with clinicians,” said Chugh, who also serves as the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology Research. “Through collaboration, they have developed clinical tools that are now used worldwide. They have the skills to translate innovation into something they can place in clinicians’ hands, and that will directly benefit patients everywhere.”

According to the American Heart Association, globally, more than 18 million people died of cardiovascular disease in 2019, the latest year for which worldwide statistics are available.

The grant, Outstanding Investigator Award (R35) number R35HL161195, is titled “Patient-specific Outcome Prediction from Cardiovascular Multimodality Imaging by Artificial Intelligence.”

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Atrial Fibrillation: Know the Warning Signs