Two cardiologists in the Netherlands are using an artificial intelligence (AI) tool called the VMS Heart Analysis System, developed by Ventripoint Diagnostics, for the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in sarcoidosis patients.
With this tool, Marco Post, MD, PhD, and Marloes Huitema, MD, at the St. Antonius Hospital in Utrecht/Nieuwegein, have already diagnosed nearly 20 out of approximately 500 sarcoidosis patients with confirmed pulmonary hypertension (PH).
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disorder that can affect several organs in the body. PH — a disease characterized by high pressure in vessels that supply blood from the heart to the lungs — is estimated to develop in 6-74 percent of patients with sarcoidosis.
In PH patients, the heart needs to work harder to force blood through the vessels. Over time, this extra work causes the right side of the heart to become larger, potentially causing right-sided heart failure, and premature death. Therefore, an early and accurate diagnosis of PH is needed for proper disease management.
The right side of the heart, however, is difficult to assess, particularly in patients with lung disease. According to Ventripoint, physicians often use the gold-standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tool to evaluate right heart disease. But MRIs are expensive, time-consuming, and not accessible for all patients. The VMS, on the other hand, is said to be fast, expensive, and noninvasive.
“Ventripoint provides a solution that allows us to overcome these barriers and might be an alternative to MRI,” Huitema said in a press release. “Furthermore, in those patients with pulmonary hypertension, the Ventripoint technology gives us an ability to repeatedly evaluate the right-ventricular dimensions with a rapid, inexpensive, non-invasive procedure to determine therapeutic efficacy.”
According to the company, the VMS is the first cost-effective and accurate AI tool used to measure the function of all four chambers of the heart using ultrasound.
While there are many possible applications for the VMS technology, its strength lies in the tool’s ability to provide accurate volumetric measurements of the heart, comparable with those obtained from an MRI.
The doctors plan to continue monitoring the right-heart function of sarcoidosis-PH patients with the VMS system, hoping to better understand disease progression.