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Searching for the “silent killer”: How AI-based MRI software is helping Kuwaiti doctors better diagnose heart disease

Images Diagnostic Center in Kuwait offers advanced diagnostic services with the regions’ first Artificial Intelligence cloud-based MRI post-processing solution

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number-one cause of death around the world. More people die every year from CVDs, disorders of the heart and blood vessels that include heart attacks and strokes, than from any other cause.

In Kuwait, CVDs now account for 41% of all non-communicable disease deaths, leading doctors to search for new ways to detect what has been called a “silent killer”.

That’s why Images Diagnostic Center in Kuwait City recently implemented ViosWorks™ powered by Arterys™, a groundbreaking new MR software system that completes a cardiovascular scan in 10 minutes or less – significantly less than the 45 minutes to an hour it usually takes to scan a beating heart.

“We chose ViosWorks to reduce the time it takes to do cardiac examinations. ViosWorks is a fast technique when compared to conventional cardiac scans, and we can get vital information such as 3D anatomy, function and flow in 8-10 minutes of acquisition time,” said Dr. Yahya Slaiman, owner of Images Diagnostic Center.

It’s the first system of its kind to be deployed in the Middle East. Radiologists at the center now use the software for 3-4 cases every week on its family of SIGNA™ MRI scanners, including SIGNA Architect, SIGNA Pioneer, SIGNA Artist and SIGNA Voyager.

Seeing the heart like never before

The software and algorithms in ViosWorks not only speed up the cardiac imaging process, they provide higher quality images.

“We obtain more data from ViosWorks when compared to the conventional cardiac scans, as we are able to obtain more datasets in terms of reconstruction, functional and flow studies from a short scan time of 8-10 minutes. We are also able to obtain high spatial resolution that enables visualization of flow through even the complex structures,” said Dr. Slaiman.

Plus, patients don’t have to hold their breath. And faster exams mean patients are in and out of the scanner faster, allowing facilities to serve up to four times as many patients.

“It improved our imaging services by allowing us to do MRI cardiac in a short time, in a way that is comfortable to the patient because of the free-breathing technique. The fast scan time allows patients to feel less anxious and helps them cooperate with us while doing a stressful examination,” said Dr. Slaiman.

ViosWorks helps physicians see the heart like never before by displaying results in 7 dimensions: 3 in space, 1 in time, and 3 in velocity direction. It shows the blood flow in the heart as a moving image, much like a 3D animated movie, and allows clinicians to rotate and view the image from any angle.

It can help clinicians distinguish scarred or damaged tissue from healthy heart muscle and tell them whether blood is flowing through the heart the way it should be. And it can be used to diagnose and intervene earlier in cardiovascular disease, while helping surgeons know exactly what needs to be repaired – or it can even indicate that surgery is unnecessary.

A patient at the clinic recently hesitated to undergo a cardiac MRI because of the length of the exam. After installing ViosWorks, Dr. Slaiman was able to change the patient’s mind to get this potentially life-saving exam.

“We were able to convince them by informing them that we will only do once sequence that will take approximately 10 minutes,” said Dr. Slaiman. “We managed to do the examination quickly with free breathing, which helped us quickly reach a diagnosis and improve the patient’s outcome.”