Mayo Clinic, Eko to develop machine-learning based algorithm to detect heart diseases

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and healthcare device company Eko plan to develop technology that uses machine-learning to help physicians better detect easily-missed heart diseases in patients.  

Through the collaboration, the companies hope to create and commercialize a machine-learning based algorithm, which along with a smart digital stethoscope, will be used to screen patients for a weak heart pump. The condition is typically measured by imaging techniques, like an echocardiography, according to a companies.

“It’s a privilege to collaborate with Mayo Clinic on this technology that can assist physicians with their patients’ cardiovascular care,” Eko CEO Connor Landgraf said in a statement. “By co-developing this technology, we can combine the knowledge of millions of ECGs and healthcare screenings to get an almost instantaneous snapshot of a patient’s heart.”

The technology will use the Mayo Clinic’s cardiovascular database and knowledge in medical artificial intelligence and heart disease screening. The companies hope the algorithm will help screen patients faster, which means earlier detection of any heart function abnormalities.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic and Eko hope to test the algorithm’s safety and effectiveness through clinical studies before seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“With this collaboration we hope to transform the stethoscope in the pocket of every physician and nurse from a hand tool to a power tool,” Paul Friedman, MD, chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, said in a statement. “The community practitioner performing high school sports physicals and the surgeon about to operate may be able to seamlessly tap the knowledge of an experienced cardiologist to determine if a weak heart pump is present simply by putting a stethoscope on a person’s chest for a few seconds.”