On the occasion of #WorldHeartDay, we wanted to find out about the work of the Idoven team, their history and their vision of cardiology today.For this reason, we talked to Dr. María de la Parte, pediatric cardiologist. With a degree in Medicine from the Complutense University of Madrid, she specialized in Pediatrics and its corresponding areas and later trained in Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Cardiopathies at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid. She currently works as head of the Pediatric Cardiology Unit at the Hospital Universitario General de Villalba and is a scientific consultant and pediatric cardiologist at Idoven.
Have you always known that you wanted to do medicine and dedicate yourself to pediatric cardiology?
I have always found medicine to be a fascinating field of study that excites me, especially everything that involves the heart. For me, cardiology is one of the specialties where you can best understand the physiology of the human body. I have always had a vocation for pediatric care, dedicating myself to diagnosing congenital heart disease, which affects children born with heart problems, as well as children who are at risk of suffering from hereditary heart disease. It is a very rewarding job and I believe that cardiovascular health prevention should begin in the early stages of life.
Are you lucky to be able to do what you love?
Yes, without a doubt. On the one hand, in my practice I screen for possible heart disease and arrhythmias, and I monitor children and adolescents with known heart problems and others at risk of suffering from them because of their family history. On the other hand, in Idoven I work as a consultant and my function is to achieve early and reliable diagnosis of possible cardiac events in order to prevent myocardial infarction, arrhythmias and sudden death. In addition, I frequently participate in various media outlets through which I promote healthy lifestyle habits and the importance of good cardiovascular health.
I consider myself fortunate to do what I like to do and that my work has a very important value for my patients and for society.
Has the specialty of cardiology evolved a lot in recent years? Where is it heading?
New technologies applied to cardiology have given a strong boost to this branch of medicine in recent years. Thanks to these advances, diagnoses have become faster, less invasive techniques have been implemented, the care service has improved and even allows the patient to be an active part of the treatment, with interactive digital tools. Telemedicine practically eliminates the distance between the user and the health professional, thus promoting more immediate communication with the patient, making him or her aware of and more responsible for his or her own treatment.
What warning signs should alert us that we may be suffering from heart disease that has not yet been detected?
We must be attentive to the signals that our body can give us. The most common ones that should alert us usually show up in situations of stress or physical exertion, usually in the form of chest pain, palpitations, loss of consciousness or shortness of breath. Unfortunately, cardiovascular events are often triggered silently, so one of our objectives as medical specialists is to work on cardiovascular prevention, as well as on the early detection of possible cardiac events, such as arrhythmias.
What habits could we change to improve our cardiovascular health?
Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in the world, so it is essential to promote cardiovascular prevention. It is essential to take care of our diet, based on a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit, low in sugars, salt and saturated fats. This should be complemented with regular aerobic physical activity, such as running or walking at a fast pace, swimming or cycling. In addition, smoking, alcohol consumption and stress should be avoided, as these are risk factors that have a negative impact on our cardiovascular health.
What role does Idoven play in cardiology?
Idoven has redefined the way of diagnosing heart disease thanks to the use of powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and a cloud-based platform. In this way, it contributes to preventing cardiovascular events, which, as I have mentioned, is the leading cause of death worldwide -17.7 million people die each year from a cardiovascular problem- and the one that generates the highest cost to the healthcare system. The platform offers reliable, efficient and highest medical quality diagnostics using deep learning algorithms. In this way, Idoven is transforming an industry that traditionally processes data manually or digitally in a matter of seconds to analyze the results, thus benefiting both patients and healthcare professionals.
What is it like to work in Idoven's medical team?
Idoven is currently a large team, made up of multidisciplinary professionals covering areas of knowledge related to cardiology, engineering and digital innovation. Our mission is to articulate the best R&D in cardiology with Artificial intelligence to improve medical diagnostic capabilities and, thus, patient outcomes.
What role is Artificial Intelligence currently playing in the healthcare system?
Medicine is one of the fields that is making most progress in Artificial Intelligence and one of those that is benefiting most from it. For example, AI is managing to speed up the slow and costly development of new drugs, to analyze a patient's genome in record time and to automate the interpretation of images or pieces of pathological anatomy. AI has become a tool capable of rapidly learning and analyzing huge amounts of information from patient records, imaging tests and scientific advances to help us provide better diagnoses and treatments. Specifically in Idoven's technology, AI is a key element in the fight against heart-related pathologies.
How can AI help to improve the quality of life of patients?
Artificial Intelligence allows us to quickly achieve an early and reliable diagnosis, which can change the course of some diseases, such as arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, some neurological diseases or tumors. All these tools mean that patients can improve their diagnostic times and the treatment of their pathologies, enabling them to improve their quality of life.
In day-to-day practice, what benefits can the implementation of AI provide?
For healthcare professionals, those tools that are reliable, fast and safe help us to focus our efforts on those patients or pathologies that require more dedication. AI has become an ally that frees us from some monotonous tasks, such as the analysis of medical images or the interpretation of electrocardiogram records of medium and long duration. In this regard, I would like to highlight a quote from Dr. Eric Topol, cardiologist and author of the book 'Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again', who, after working extensively with AI-powered tools, said: "I realized that as you can increase human performance at both the clinical and patient level on an unprecedented scale, you can make the time available grow.”