Stroke AI & The Importance of Stroke Care in 2021

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a powerful tool in stroke care. AI can potentially speed up detection, reduce risk, and improve quality of life for patients who have experienced a stroke.

In a paper published in October 2020 entitled ‘Incorporating Artificial Intelligence into Stroke Care and Research’, the authors pointed to several factors currently influencing stroke AI and the most important? AI’s ability to predict outcomes, to help screen significant volumes of people who are at risk for stroke, and to provide immense support to physicians juggling weighty workloads during diagnosis and scanning. AI has been shown to help neurologists rapidly identify ischemic stroke, and to provide physicians with an untiring pair of eyes that can help them catch anomalies that may be missed in busy emergency rooms or practices.

While AI will never replace the human mind for its ability to see the nuances and identify the hidden risks, it can be an invaluable ally in mitigating the risk of stroke. This is particularly important because the sooner a stroke is detected, the better patient outcomes. A recent research project called STIMULATE has unpacked how to create better outcomes through earlier diagnosis, focusing on some of the limitations and how to overcome them. As the team points out: “current methods cannot distinguish between stroke types and a reliable diagnosis has to await imaging of the brain at the hospital, delaying the start of treatment.”

Current state of stroke care

The global pandemic has taken more than its pound of flesh. It’s impacted business, citizens, service delivery, healthcare and how people live and work in the future. It has also played no small role in stroke detection and patient care.

A recent survey entitled ‘Effect of COVID-19 on Emergent Stroke Care’ undertook the task of establishing whether or not the virus has discouraged people from seeking treatment for stroke. This is a largely anecdotal claim, one that the team sought to quantify. Using specific data from stroke teams and healthcare facilities, the report found that stroke consultations had dropped by 39% in the five weeks after the closures took place in the US, while reperfusion treatments dropped by 31%. In short – people avoided going to the emergency rooms during the pandemic.

The impact of this could be far-reaching. People may have experienced strokes or may be at greater risk as a result of their lack of care, and may not know that they are at risk at all. If their conditions or risk factors are not addressed, there is a chance that they could experience negative outcomes. This is a fact emphasized by a study entitled ‘Break in the Stroke Chain of Survival due to COVID-19’ that ominously concluded with: “The COVID-19 pandemic is disruptive for acute stroke pathways.”

Stroke AI & detection 

Sophisticated and carefully developed stroke AI solutions are providing the healthcare industry with rapid stroke detection tools that can fundamentally improve patient outcomes.

A recent article in Science Daily took a long look at stroke AI and detection methodologies and research, unpacking how algorithms and deep learning can potentially have an immensely positive impact on the healthcare industry, and stroke patient care. The testing undertaken by the researchers in the article found that the deep learning model detected all of the 31 large vessel occlusions for a sensitivity of 100% using multiphase CTA examinations over 62 patients. It’s a promising result, one that shines a spotlight on the value that AI can bring to the healthcare industry.

Deep learning and artificial (AI) intelligence are being used to detect and prioritize strokes, offering radiology departments and medical practitioners a swift and accurate tool so they can provide their patients with immediate treatment. The use of stroke AI has been evolving over the past few years, specifically because it can provide accurate and insightful data about the patient to the practitioner in time to potentially save their lives.

Transforming stroke care with Always-on AI

It’s also something that Aidoc has invested into, developing a comprehensive suite of AI-based tools designed to provide physicians with essential support in stroke care coordination, among many other neurological conditions. The suite provides rapid triage of patients with suspected stroke and simultaneously alerts physicians, speeding access to lifesaving treatment. It provides real-time, highly accurate notification of patients with suspected stroke directly into the clinical workflow.

Already integrated into more than 500 clinical workflows worldwide, Aidoc has teamed up with another industry leader – Icometrix – to transform the coordination of stroke care. Icometrix has FDA clearance for its icobrain-cva and its analysis of the tissue perfusion state on CT perfusion scans in patients with ischemic stroke. Together, they are providing medical institutions and practitioners with stroke AI functionality that sits right on the cutting edge. Serving as a safety net, a rapid response system, intelligent support, and a dynamic communication tool, this collaborative solution ensures that the right patients get the right treatment at the right time.

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