Don’t Miss a Beat: AI Software Helps Guide Cardiology Ultrasounds

Many big health problems begin as much smaller health problems. A recent study showed that 38% of new heart failure patients, for instance, are first diagnosed in acute care facilities, but nearly half of them were showing symptoms up to six months before they eventually landed in the hospital.[1]


Heart failure is a leading cause of death nationwide,[2] often called the “silent killer” by doctors because symptoms are easily ignored until it is too late. What if there was a way to do a quick cardiac checkup, in a general practitioner’s office or even at home, and stop those small problems before they grow into much bigger, less manageable ones?

That’s the direction in which healthcare is moving, and GE HealthCare aims to be at the front of the pack. It has already collaborated with companies like AliveCor, a manufacturer of pocket-size ECG devices, so that patients can monitor their heart at home and send the information to their doctors. Now GE HealthCare has signed an agreement to acquire Caption Health, a San Mateo, California–based tech company that builds AI-driven software to guide cardiac ultrasound exams.

“This is a first-of-its-kind technology,” says Karley Yoder, ultrasound chief digital officer at GE HealthCare. “It’s an undeniable innovation in this space. The combination of the incredible ultrasound equipment from GE HealthCare with the AI-guided imaging technology from Caption Health creates the best possible impact for the customer.”


Ultrasound is a powerful tool for imaging the heart, as it is noninvasive, relatively fast, and accessible and can be done at the bedside. But conducting a cardiac ultrasound exam requires a skilled clinician with extensive training. You have to know what you’re looking for and how to move the ultrasound probe to get there. The Caption Health AI tries to solve for this by providing real-time guidance, which can be especially helpful for novice ultrasound users. Caption Health has trained the AI to recognize a diagnostic-quality cardiac image, and the software tells the user, via instructions on the screen, how to move or rotate the probe so they can acquire that optimal image. “It’s like you’re with an expert user who has been doing ultrasound their whole life,” says Yoder. “It’s intuitive.”

It also makes conducting an ultrasound exam easier for people who aren’t experts. GE HealthCare plans to integrate the Caption Health software with its existing ultrasound systems, including the handheld and more affordable Vscan Air. “In some instances, clinicians who do not conduct ultrasound scans every day may need additional support to perform efficient, accurate scans,” says Yoder. “For any healthcare provider who isn’t doing an ultrasound multiple times a day, it needs to be easy to use.”

Initially, the software will only be for echocardiogram exams, but GE HealthCare plans to expand the system to create a road map of the entire human body.

For now, though, GE HealthCare and Caption Health are concentrating on getting the system into as many hands as possible, especially GPs and internists. The intention is for them to use it during a routine exam, check their patients for early signs of heart disease, and plan ways to intervene before the problem warrants a trip to the emergency room, or worse.

“We are incredibly proud of the technology we have built and together with GE HealthCare and look forward to bringing this technology to more patients across the globe,” says Caption Health CEO Steve Cashman. “Combining our software with GE HealthCare’s ultrasound devices will help accelerate our mission to detect disease earlier, when there is the highest potential for impact.”


[1] Alexander T. Sandhu et al., “Disparity in the Setting of Incident Heart Failure Diagnosis,” Circulation: Heart Failure 14, no. 8 (August 2021),

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Heart Disease Facts,”

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