November 16, 2022

AstraZeneca and Idoven are using Artificial Intelligence to diagnose cardiovascular diseases through a pioneering project in Europe

The healthcare sector is going through a period of transition. The arrival of new innovative tools for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring have brought about a new personalized service, focused on the different pathologies of each patient. AstraZeneca and the healthcare startup Idoven focused on the development of Artificial Intelligence to detect cardiovascular diseases, are entering into a strategic collaboration to transform the way heart failure is diagnosed.

Cardiovascular diseases are the most prevalent pathologies and the leading cause of death in the world. One of the most serious and costly is heart failure, which is characterized by a decrease in the heart's ability to pump blood effectively. This affects 26 million people worldwide, one out of five people will develop heart failure, according to the European Society of Cardiology. 

Despite being a major cause of medical consultations, hospital admissions, high mortality rate, and representing a huge cost to health systems, cardiovascular diseases are often not identified and diagnosed, particularly in the primary care setting. Moreover, early diagnosis is difficult due to the lack of specific symptoms in the initial stages. Thus, the alliance between AstraZeneca and Idoven aims to address this problem. 

As a result of this initiative, it will be possible to effectively and rapidly diagnose patients over 65 years of age with heart failure, improving the interpretation of electrocardiograms and establishing a standardized process for their readings in primary care. In addition, treatments will be tailored to patients through remote monitoring, which will help to reduce the overload on healthcare centers. 

An innovative project to solve an underdiagnosed disease

To build a successful solution, the implementation will be carried out in two phases. The first will consist of identifying patients and monitoring their cardiac pathologies. To this end, several healthcare centers included in the screening program will participate in the identification of patients with heart failure. "This will be done using an electrocardiogram that is analyzed by our Artificial Intelligence-based platform, to identify patients at high risk of heart failure in just minutes, with the results reviewed and confirmed by our team of cardiologists before being shared with the primary care physician for further follow-up" explains Manuel Marina, cardiologist and CEO of Idoven

The second phase will consist of remotely monitoring patients who have already been diagnosed with heart failure with the help of data from wearable devices from Fitbit. An ECG reading will be taken between three and seven times a week or on demand depending on the patient's history. This will be possible leveraging certain Fitbit devices with Fitbit’s ECG technology, which allow users to create and record an ECG from the wrist. In collaboration with Idoven, this information will be shared with healthcare professionals.

This program is a pioneer in Spain and Europe and will be developed with the intention of laying the foundations for the application of Artificial Intelligence for the detection of cardiovascular diseases. Dr. César Velasco, Director of Innovation and Digital Strategy of AstraZeneca Spain emphasizes that "we believe the advances of technology, such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, will open up new scientific innovations, allowing for a more personalized healthcare, early diagnosis and greater agility in the development of treatments. This is why, in AstraZeneca, we promote collaboration with academic institutions, governments, scientific organizations, and companies, in order to improve access to scientific advances, but also to stimulate innovation: focusing more on patients' needs and advancing in cutting-edge science.”

The program is supported by A.Catalyst Network, AstraZeneca's interconnected global network that aims to catalyze all the innovation being worked on worldwide and already has more than 20 hubs, 500 agreements, 100 solutions under development, 300 startups involved and 20 scaled solutions


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