AI is 'better than doctors' at predicting when patients are going to die - by ...

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AI is 'better than doctors' at predicting when patients are going to die - outstripping mystified medics in heart tests In a mystery diagnoses the machines are able to detect ECG abnormalities They accurately predicted which patients were going to die within a year Finding abnormalities in ECGs three cardiologists had diagnosed as normal 

By Milly Vincent For Mailonline

Published: 16:57 GMT, 12 November 2019 | Updated: 18:32 GMT, 12 November 2019

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Artificial intelligence can accurately predict how likely someone is to die within a year by looking at heart test results - even when doctors believe the person is healthy.

In a mystery diagnoses the machines are able to detect abnormalities in electrocardiogram (ECG) results and predict who is at higher risk of dying.

The artificial intelligence was given 1.77 million ECG results from 400,000 people to examine by Dr Brandon Fornwalt at healthcare provider Geisinger in Pennsylvania, US. 

Two tests were carried out with one machine taught to only examine the raw data from the ECGs while the other was fed information about the people it related to - their sex, age. (stock image)

Two tests were carried out with one machine taught to only examine the raw data from the ECGs while the other was fed information about the people it related to - their sex, age. (stock image)

Two tests were carried out with one machine taught to only examine the raw data from the ECGs while the other was fed information about the people it related to - their sex, age.

To measure the AI's performance they tested its ability to distinguish between two groups of people - those who had died within a year of taking the tests and those who survived.

WHAT IS AN ECG?

An ECG, an electrocardiogram, traces the electrical activity of the heart and can help Doctors to detect abnormal rhythms that may occur due to heart attack or heart conditions. 

Miraculously when asked to predict which people were more at risk of dying within the next year the machines guessed very accurately. 

When one is a perfect score matching every ECG with the correct outcome, the machine looking at the raw data alone scored eight point five, achieving a clear distinction between the groups - five is no distinction at all. 

Surprisingly the machine that had been given additional information such as the patients sex and age did not do as well. 

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