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AI-Guided Image Acquisition Software Significantly Reduces Cardiac MRI Scan Time

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 02 Feb 2023

Cardiac MRIs (CMRs) are considered to be the gold standard of cardiac diagnostics. Several studies have demonstrated the value of CMR in diagnosing a range of cardiac disorders without the need for an invasive procedure or exposing a patient to radiation. However, CMRs are challenging to perform as they have an intricate, complex workflow, require highly skilled, trained technologists, who are short in supply, and are unpredictably long, and therefore difficult to schedule. Now, an automated, software-only platform greatly simplifies a CMR exam, enabling hospitals to increase throughput for existing scanners and/or get a CMR program off the ground cost-effectively.

The results from a clinical adaptation study on Vista.ai’s (Palo Alto, CA, USA) One Click MRI software show that the AI-guided image acquisition software improves CMR scan times and achieves high adoption rates by hospital imaging staff. In the study, researchers evaluated the use of One Click MRI across about 1,100 consecutive studies for cardiomyopathy and structural heart disease, and compared traditional CMR exams with partial and full AI-assisted scans from April to September 2022.

Image: One Click MRI is a software-only platform that directly controls MRI scanners (Photo courtesy of Vista.ai)
Image: One Click MRI is a software-only platform that directly controls MRI scanners (Photo courtesy of Vista.ai)

With respect to CMR exam time, the study found full AI-assisted scans – where a technologist uses One Click MRI to oversee the exam with no manual operation – to be 31% shorter than non-AI scans. The study found that 90% of full AI-assisted scans were completed within 45 minutes, as against only 25% of unassisted scans being completed within that timeframe. Additionally, full AI-assisted scan times were three times more consistent than unassisted scan times. Both had minimum times of 26 to 27 minutes, although their maximum times were 64 minutes versus 161 minutes, respectively. Notably, the study found that the voluntary use of One Click MRI increased steadily as technologists experienced the software's ease of use and benefits firsthand. Technologist adoption rose from 13% during the first full month One Click MRI was available (May) to 55% at the end of the study (September).

"An influx of patients with COVID-19-induced cardiac issues further strained the operation of our CMR program at Brigham. Before initiating the One Click MRI study, some outpatients were waiting up to three to four weeks for a CMR scan. Even our sickest inpatients would often have to wait two to five days for a scan," said Dr. Raymond Kwong, Director, Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, who led the study. "We believe that with continued use of One Click MRI, we will further reduce scan times to an average of 30 minutes, shrink the backlog to improve upon pre-pandemic levels, and sustain a CMR growth rate of about 15% a year."

"A standard CMR is complex and unpredictably long, causing unnecessary stress and burnout for clinicians and discomfort for patients," said Itamar Kandel, Vista.ai's CEO. "We applaud Dr. Kwong's rigorous clinical evaluation of One Click MRI across more than 1,000 patients over a six-month timeframe, and we are thrilled with his conclusions that the software yields positive impacts on clinician workflow, MRI scanner throughput, patient convenience and time to diagnosis. These findings serve as a foundation of evidence to fuel our efforts to make CMR available to all patients who can benefit."

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