Philips, Siemens Healthineers push AI for heart ultrasound imaging

Separately at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam, Siemens Healthineers and Philips trained their spotlights on how artificial intelligence will continue to change the way clinicians examine patients for heart disease.

Siemens Healthineers raised the curtain on a cart-based ultrasound machine dedicated to cardiovascular disease—with features aimed not only at assisting in diagnostics but also helping physicians perform minimally invasive procedures to fix damaged heart valves, congenital defects, irregular heartbeats and more.

The Acuson Origin system also taps into AI algorithms to automate hundreds of particular measurement tasks such as the contouring and quantification of each of the heart’s four beating chambers without the need for performing an electrocardiogram.

Siemens Healthineers estimates that the number of image-guided structural heart procedures will grow by nearly 10% annually, as more catheter-based therapies come on the market to treat leaky cardiac valves or lower a patient’s lifetime risk of stroke. 

At the same time, the number of heart failure patients is forecast to rise while the industry expects to see continued shortages of trained clinicians and heart ultrasound specialists. Many developers are hoping AI can streamline procedures and help hospitals meet some of the demand.

“The demands on cardiology departments have never been higher, driving clinicians to balance the delivery of high-quality care for a growing volume of complex patients with pressures to improve departmental efficiency,” Bert van Meurs, chief business leader of Philips’ image-guided therapy and precision diagnosis division, said in a statement.

Philips aims to integrate AI across its portfolio, with the goal of speeding up cardiac image acquisition times and analysis in ultrasound exams as well as in CT and MRI scans. For example, the company’s 5500 CV wheeled ultrasound cart includes an AI-powered tool that automatically quantifies the strain placed on the heart’s left ventricle, the company said. 

As a first-line diagnostic for cardiac patients, Philips hopes that ultrasound and AI-equipped workflow software will help get patients to the treatments they need faster. According to the company, its ultrasound systems are used to help care for more than 240 million patients annually.