Cardiologists prefer AI's reading of echocardiogram images over sonographers

A recent study found cardiologists agree more with an artificial intelligence-guided assessment of echocardiogram images than sonographers'.

The study, published April 5 in Nature, collected nearly 3,500 transthoracic echocardiograms. Half were evaluated by 25 cardiac sonographers and half evaluated by AI. Afterwards, 10 cardiologists reviewed left ventricular ejection fraction measures on the images. Cardiologists were more likely to agree with the AI's initial assessment, and they couldn't tell the difference between images analyzed by AI or a sonographer.

"This is a machine beats man situation," study author David Ouyang, MD, a cardiologist at the Smidt Heart Institute and the division of artificial intelligence in medicine at Cedars-Sinai, both in Los Angeles, told Leader. "AI doesn't change the cardiologist's role, it makes the sonographer work faster and more efficiently, and it doesn't change the patient experience. It's a triple win."

Sonographers would still scan the heart and receive the images but would have less tedious computer work afterward, he added.

Dr. Ouyang and his colleagues are attempting to get FDA approval for their AI technology.

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