Image courtesy of Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute
June 12, 2018 — Volta Medical, out of Marseille, France, has developed the first artificial intelligence (AI) software to guide cardiologists during heart surgeries to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) or any open-heart surgery.
In January 2017, the co-founders published their first article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) that had garnered great interest in the field.
AIFib is an artificial intelligence software developed to guide doctors through the complex medical procedure intended to treat atrial fibrillation — from the detection of electrical foci, which trigger atrial fibrillation, to the surgery itself. AIFib is based on more than 10 years of intense research and development by the co-founders, alongside a team of engineers led by Théophile Mohr Durdez, who developed the software and runs the company.
At the 2018 Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Conference, May 9-12 in Boston, Jérôme Kalifa, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder of Volta Medical, presented the results of a test performed by 28 expert cardiologists and Volta's software. The test consisted of analyzing intracardiac electrical signals during the surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation, and the performance of the AIFib software surpassed those recorded a few months earlier by a panel of 28 cardiologists. Studies are underway to confirm this promising preliminary data.
To identify electrical foci, the root cause of fibrillation, cardiologists previously had to manipulate probes inside the heart in order to identify the electrical signals and detect them visually. The technique is hard to master, however, and surgeons have to analyze very complex sets of intracardiac electrical signals. Volta Medical had the idea to model and automate this technique as a way to make it accessible to a large number of surgeons.
AF manifests itself by an anarchic, rapid and irregular heart rate. These chaotic heartbeats prevent the heart from properly pumping blood. The root cause is an "electrical storm" in the atria disrupting all synchronized activities to a point that the mechanical contraction of the atria no longer occurs. The heart loses its strength. The ventricle may momentarily compensate for this loss, but in the long run, the exhaustion of its contractile forces can lead to heart failure. Atrial fibrillation can cause a blood clot in the heart, which may migrate into the brain arteries and cause a stroke.
For more information: www.volta-medical.com
Seitz J., Bars C., Théodore G., et al. "AF Ablation Guided by Spatiotemporal Electrogram Dispersion Without Pulmonary Vein Isolation: A Wholly Patient-Tailored Approach." Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Jan. 24, 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.10.065