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Predict a heart attack before your doctor can

We’re always telling you how technology has made our lives better over the years — consider smartphones, virtual assistants and Internet-of-Things (IoT) gadgets, to name a few handy innovations.

What about technology that doesn’t just improve lives but actually extends them? There’s a new, groundbreaking piece of tech that can do just that.

How AI could save your life

Nearly 20 million people die from cardiovascular disease every year. This includes heart attacks, blocked arteries, strokes and other circulatory system functions.

Doctors use the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) guidelines to predict a patient’s cardiovascular risk. These guidelines are based on eight factors that include age, blood pressure and cholesterol level. This system can predict a person’s risk with a success rate of 72.8%.

Now, researchers from the University of Nottingham have developed artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that can predict cardiovascular risks better than doctors. They used their four computer-learning algorithms to study 378,256 patients in order to come up with their predictive tools.

The algorithms predicted cardiovascular risks successfully at rates ranging from 74.5% to 76.4%. In one test sample of 83,000 patients, the researchers said 355 additional lives could’ve been saved. That’s because once a health risk is discovered, changes in diet or medication can prevent the loss of life.

One reason these algorithms are better at predicting health risks than doctors is because several risk factors the computer detects aren’t included in the ACC/AHA guidelines. Oral corticosteroids and mental illness, for instance, are two such factors. These algorithms are expected to be improved in the future by adding other risk factors, like genetics and lifestyle.

Since this is new technology, it hasn’t been implemented by doctors worldwide yet. With the impressively higher predictive success rates, though, it’s only a matter of time.

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