AI Algorithm Outperformed Majority of Cardiologists in Detection of Heart Murmurs

Eko Team

November 10, 2018

Image by: Lilja Hauksdottir

Eko’s heart murmur detection algorithm outperformed four out of five cardiologists for the detection of heart murmurs in a recent clinical study. The algorithm is designed to empower four million U.S. clinicians to deliver better cardiovascular care.


AHA Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL., Nov. 10, 2018 – At the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018, Eko, a cardiac monitoring company that combines non-invasive sensors with machine learning, presented a clinical study abstract revealing the first murmur detection algorithm to outperform the majority of participating cardiologists in a clinical study. Entitled “Artificial Intelligence Detects Pediatric Heart Murmurs With Cardiologist-Level Accuracy,” the study demonstrates the power of machine learning and AI to enhance cardiac care.

The neural network AI algorithm was trained on thousands of heart sound recordings. The algorithm was then tested on an independent dataset of pediatric heart sounds and compared to gold-standard echocardiogram imagery. Five pediatric cardiologists also listened to the heart sound recordings and independently made a determination whether a recording contained a murmur. This advancement will help narrow the clinical skill gap between the 27,000 cardiologists in the U.S. – the experts at murmur detection – and the 3.8 million other clinicians who are less experienced in the identification of heart murmurs through a stethoscope.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that, on average, internal medicine and family practice physician residents misdiagnose 80 percent of common cardiac events. Cardiologists on the other hand, can effectively diagnose 90 percent of cardiac events using a stethoscope (Source).

“When it comes to healthcare, data almost always leads to better results because practitioners are able to make more informed decisions,” said Dr. Nicholas Slamon, Pediatric Critical Care Physician at Nemours Children’s Health System. “Eko’s technology is leveraging the largest available dataset of previously captured heart sounds to elevate the skills of clinicians and in turn provide guidance on how to diagnose, and subsequently treat, serious, often fatal cardiac conditions. It’s a powerful advancement for the world of medicine.”

Eko’s murmur screening algorithm, when coupled with the company’s FDA-cleared, CORE and DUO Digital Stethoscopes will enable any and all clinicians to more accurately screen for heart murmurs.

“Eko imagines a future where every physician is able to augment their clinical judgment and experience, leveraging thousands and thousands of previous medical cases in seconds,” said Connor Landgraf, CEO of Eko. “Today’s results show that we can help extend the expert ears of 27,000 cardiologists to millions of clinicians around the world.”

Eko is currently pursuing FDA clearance for the algorithm and will be rolling it out with its existing cardiac monitoring devices upon securing regulatory clearance.

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