New platform to track cardiac data, predict heart failure
March 1, 2023
CALGARY – The Libin Cardiovascular Institute is creating a new platform to connect the rich data sources that are being collected in local cardiac clinics. More than 25,000 patients so far have had their heart imaging and other diagnostic tests linked to their entire electronic health records. The Libin Cardiovascular Institute is a joint entity of the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and Alberta Health Services.
The platform will help detect patterns and predict each patient’s future health status. Those predictions can alert front-line staff to take a personalized approach and ensure the best possible outcome.
“For instance, we might ask the algorithm the most likely future scenario for a patient we’re meeting for the first time today,” says clinician-researcher Dr. James White (pictured), the director of the Libin Institute’s Precision Medicine Initiative. “Will they do fine in five years on their medications or are they more likely to arrive in the emergency department with heart failure?
“We can then link the patients predicted to have heart failure to physicians and health care teams that will mitigate those outcomes. We can identify specific individuals at risk of atrial fibrillation, which is the leading cause of stroke, and put them on blood thinners. We can also monitor them remotely through smart watches or other wearable technology, so they don’t have to go to the hospital.”
As treatment is tailored to each patient’s personal profile, including genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, precision medicine is a much more efficient way to deliver care. It’s an approach that will decrease costly treatment-related complications, reduce hospital re-admissions and produce better outcomes using fewer resources.
The more data the Libin Institutes Precision Medicine programs and tools have access to, the more precise the predictions will be for every new patient.
“Our single-provider, public healthcare structure offers a rare advantage as it captures every person and every clinical encounter, making it pure gold in the era of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” says cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Paul Fedak, who is also a professor and head of the Department of Cardiac Sciences at the University of Calgary and director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute.
“Alberta sits on a massive bed of the world’s best electronic health data, but to become valuable information it must be mined, processed and used as a road map for change by front-line providers.”
The Libin Institute’s Precision Medicine research team is also working to bring cardiac digital tools and technologies beyond Alberta, to the rest of the world. Using MRI, CT scans and ultrasound data, Dr. White’s team has constructed virtual four-dimensional models of beating hearts that will be used to predict cardiovascular outcomes at 10 testing sites in the U.S. and across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
Philanthropic support has laid a strong foundation for a homegrown program that has the potential to impact countless people around the world, including generous contributions from the Canadian Pacific Railway, as well as the Mozell and Stephenson family.
“We are extremely grateful for the unflagging support of the community for the Libin Cardiovascular Institute,” says Fedak. “Philanthropy is truly a catalyst for innovation and improvement in patient outcomes.”
“Based on the images of hearts we’ve collected from patients over time, we can actually show how the characteristics of a beating heart can predict what will happen to patients in the future. It’s a trailblazing technology that has not been developed anywhere else and is really leading in the world,” says Dr. White.
“As treatments change over time and we develop new approaches to care, we have to keep re-educating the algorithms so they remain relevant. It’s a long journey that depends on continuously learning from patients and gaining more experience so we can do better.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Libin Cardiovascular Institute.