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Your Health: Finding heart failure with artificial intelligence

Over 6 million American adults suffer from heart failure. But now, doctors are harnessing AI technology to catch the problem before it’s fatal.

CHICAGO — Heart failure is a common, costly condition affecting over six million U.S. adults – that’s about one in 250 people. When a patient reaches advanced heart failure, medications no longer work; that’s why it’s vital to catch the problem early. And now, AI is giving doctors advanced notice – helping them find the most critical patients.

Finding the best route, googling the answer, facial recognition on our phones – these are just a few examples of how we use augmented intelligence every single day and now, AI is fast becoming the future of health care.

Up to 25 percent of all heart patients have advanced heart failure. Dr. Jane Wilcox, MD, Chief of Heart Failure at Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, is part of a team at the hospital that’s using AI to detect patients at risk.

“Advanced heart failure can be sort of tricky or nuanced to identify. So, we’ve created algorithms, using AI, using machine learning to try to find patients, and we have found patients successfully,” Dr. Wilcox tells Ivanhoe.

Data science teams are using tens of thousands of data points from their data warehouse, which include clinical data and imaging.

Dr. Wilcox explains, “If we can catch patients who are less sick, potentially, they could be a candidate for a clinical trial.

The team also used AI to help pinpoint two patients who needed LVADs – two people who may have not been helped until it was too late.

“It doesn’t let people fall through the cracks,” Dr. Wilcox emphasizes.

AI is transforming the way doctors take care of patients, just like it’s transformed our daily lives.

Other ways augmented intelligence is changing – healthcare, virtual visits, diagnosis and predicting outcomes, medical image interpretations, and training.  A study from Medtronic found that 72 percent of healthcare executives trust AI to help in patient care.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Shelby Kluver at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Watch more ‘Your Health’ segments on News 8’s YouTube channel

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