Google’s algorithms are now able to predict heart disease and whether someone has high blood pressure. They have used AI to predict the likelihood that a patient will suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Aiming to replace more invasive measures they claim this method is accurate for predicting cardiovascular disease. According to the company, medical researchers have previously shown some correlation between retinal vessels and the risk of a major cardiovascular episode.
Using the retinal image, Google says it was able to quantify this association and 70% of the time accurately predict which patient within five years would experience a heart attack or other major cardiovascular event, and which patient would not. Those results were in line with testing methods that require blood be drawn to measure a patient’s cholesterol.
Google’s technique generated a “heatmap,” or graphical representation of data that revealed which pixels in an image were the most important for predicting a specific risk factor. For example, Google’s algorithm paid more attention to blood vessels for making predictions about blood pressure.
But observing and quantifying associations with medical images can be challenging, Google says, because of the wide variety of features, patterns, colors, values and shapes that are present in real images.