The consortium of the innovation project ASSIST, led by the Spanish startup Idoven, has received €1.5 million in funding over two years from EIT Health, part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an agency of the European Union. The funds will be used to develop the first artificial intelligence-based solution for early diagnosis and accurate triage of acute myocardial infarction.
Each year, 4 million European citizens die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)⁽¹⁾, and 20% of these deaths are caused by ischemic heart disease⁽²⁾. Among the most common forms of ischemic heart disease is acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack.
"ASSIST addresses the leading cause of death for European citizens: cardiovascular diseases", says Izabel Alfany, Managing Director ad interim of EIT Health Spain. "The project aligns with one of EIT Health's four strategic areas, harnessing the full potential of health data for innovation, by employing existing and new structures to generate and validate the artificial intelligence tool."
"The ASSIST project is a perfect example of how EIT Health supports startups and promotes innovation in healthcare through its calls and international projects, enabling innovative and disruptive solutions to reach the market and improve healthcare and patient health", Alfany adds.
Goal: Improve Heart Attack Diagnosis Accuracy
The implementation of ASSIST is of paramount importance in in today's world, which is marked by a growing aging population and an increasing prevalence of risk factors for acute myocardial infarction⁽³⁾. The consortium aims to improve the accuracy and reduce the diagnosis time for patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction using a technological platform called Willem, which employs artificial intelligence models. Through these advancements, the ASSIST project aims to achieve a reduction in mortality rates for patients with acute myocardial infarction, which has been shown to decrease in proportion with the reduction of diagnosis time to intervention, especially in the most urgent cases (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction)⁽⁴⁾.
Dr. Manuel Marina Breysse, cardiologist and CEO of Idoven, explains "Willem, our cloud-based artificial intelligence, will facilitate the optimization of patient detection and prognosis from a single platform integrated into the usual clinical practice for heart attack code, aiming for a reduction of up to 67% of the time taken to make a diagnosis, starting from the patient's first medical contact with the medical emergency service."
By accelerating the diagnostic process and improving communication between clinicians, ASSIST will contribute to more efficient use of healthcare resources and an enhancement in the quality of treatment that patients receive. "We estimate that just three years after the completion of the project, we will reach more than 1.2 million patients with suspected acute ischemic heart disease. This could result in more than 1,400 lives saved and lead to savings of over €74 million in costs for the participating health regions", concludes Dr. Marina.
ASSIST is the first innovation project selected by EIT Health in its new Flagships call, which opened to all ecosystem members last September, aiming to drive the development and adoption of digital health solutions, maximize the potential of health data, adopt new value-based healthcare models, and strengthen the European health industry.
Under the leadership of Idoven, the ASSIST consortium is comprised of leading international institutions in the sector: Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC, Netherlands), Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, the Inter-American Society of Cardiology (SIAC) which includes 28 of the world's leading scientific societies of cardiology (such as the American Heart Association, Sociedade Brasileira de Cardiologia, Sociedad Mexicana de Cardiología and Sociedad Española de Cardiología), the Servicio Madrileño de Salud (SERMAS), Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Gregorio Marañón, Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Universitario La Paz (IdiPAZ), Instituto Catalán de Salud (ICS), Instituto de Investigación Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Fundación para la Investigación e Innovación Biosanitaria de Atención Primaria (FIIBAP) (which includes the Servicio de Urgencia Médica de la Comunidad de Madrid - SUMMA 112), Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Girona Josep Trueta (IDIBGI), and Fundació de Recerca Clínic Barcelona-Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (FRCB-IDIBAPS).
- “Deaths Due to Coronary Heart Diseases in the EU.” Eurostat, Eurostat, 28 Sept. 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/edn-20200928-1
- Wilkins, E. et al. (2017), European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2017, European Heart Network, Brussels, https://ehnheart.org/images/CVD-statistics-report-August-2017.pdf
- Kuhn J, Olié V, Grave C, Le Strat Y, Bonaldi C, Joly P. Estimating the Future Burden of Myocardial Infarction in France Until 2035: An Illness-Death Model-Based Approach. Clin Epidemiol. 2022; 14:255-264. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/41/1/12/5670482
- Scholz KH, et al. Impact of treatment delay on mortality in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients presenting with and without haemodynamic instability: results from the German prospective, multicentre FITT-STEMI trial. Eur Heart J. 2018 Apr 1;39(13):1065-1074. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy004.https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.CIR.0000121424.76486.20