From entertainment to business, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming many aspects of life and has the power to advance diagnostics. Next-generation healthcare technologies have begun to implement many AI-driven tools to improve outcomes and patient safety, as well as enhance the clinician experience.1
AI applications can enhance multiple image acquisition and analysis capabilities for each task.2 These capabilities include:
• Classify – identify objects present in scans
• Segmentation – locate organ boundaries
• Navigation – visualize how best to get the best scan
• Quality assessment – to determine if a diagnosis can be made based on the scan
• Diagnosis – check for problems with imaging objects
Almost every woman will need an ultrasound at some point during nursing. Through the use of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) care, artificial intelligence has enormous potential to assist repetitive tasks and provide promising workload-changing advancements.2
Can AI have an impact on OB/GYN care?
According to published in Obstetrics and Gynecology UltrasoundAI has had little impact on the OB/GYN field so far.2 However, it is expected to make waves in the field. More recently, there has been a boost in collaboration between AI developers and ultrasound professionals.2 Medical device companies have heeded this call to action and are beginning to innovate and implement AI technologies in ultrasound solutions for women’s health.
Monitoring and observing fetal growth and development throughout pregnancy is critical. Ultrasound is one way to track these changes.3 One of the diseases that clinicians monitor is congenital heart disease (CHD), one of the major organ-specific birth defects and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality from congenital malformations in infants. Regarding prenatal detection of congenital heart disease, due to the complex anatomy and small size of the fetal heart, the accuracy of 2D ultrasonography is low—only 15% to 39%.4
To address this issue, tools and solutions using AI have been developed to enhance visualization and allow physicians to provide a more accurate diagnosis of CHD.4 A tool called Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography (FINE) uses “smart navigation” technology to integrate spatiotemporal image-related volumetric datasets to simplify fetal cardiac examination and reduce operator dependence.
Researchers have surveyed FINE over the past few years to determine accuracy. In a 2020 publication, Yeo and Romero found FINE:
• Helping healthcare providers evaluate normal and abnormal fetal hearts.
• Nine standard fetal echocardiographic views are automatically available in 96% to 100% of normal fetal heart rate cases.
• When activated, color Doppler can provide clinically useful information about the cardiac structure and function of normal and abnormal fetal hearts.
• Detection of CHD with high sensitivity (98%) and specificity (93%).4
FINE technology, specifically called 5D Heart™ on Samsung ultrasound systems, is designed to provide clinicians and pregnant women with high-quality CHD prenatal screening and diagnosis.4
Since obstetric ultrasound is time-consuming, the use of artificial intelligence can also reduce examination time and improve workflow.3 Working in a fast-paced environment, clinicians are seeking the accuracy and speed of diagnostic tools. From managing workflows to clinical documentation and patient outreach, AI can help with every aspect of the diagnostic process.1
The future of artificial intelligence and ultrasound imaging
Experts and research trends continue to show how artificial intelligence will revolutionize the field of medical imaging in the future.Recently published in National Library of Medicine It is estimated that artificial intelligence applications have the potential to cut annual U.S. health care costs by $150 billion by 2026.1
Some fear that AI algorithms will replace health care providers, but they will actually act as clinical support tools. By working in tandem with artificial intelligence algorithms, doctors can better ensure that tests are performed accurately and results in the correct diagnosis. To improve patient care and reduce costs, we must encourage and support providers to learn more about AI applications and engage them fully in practice. We expect to continue to see new and updated AI tools to stay at the forefront of imaging and OB/GYN care.
1. Bohr A, Memarzadeh K. The rise of artificial intelligence in healthcare applications. National Library of Medicine. 2020;25-60. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325854/. Published on June 26, 2020. Accessed 20 September 2022.
2. Drukker L, Noble JA, Papageorghiou AT. Introduction of Artificial Intelligence in Ultrasound Imaging in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Ultrasound Obstetrics and Gynecology2020;56(4):498-505.
3. Chen Z, Liu Z, Du M, Wang Z Artificial Intelligence in Obstetric Ultrasound: Update and Future Applications. Front Med (Lausanne). Available at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2021.733468/full. Published August 27, 2021. Accessed 20 September 2022.
4. Yeo L, Romero R. New and Advanced Features of Fetal Intelligent Navigation Echocardiography (FINE) or 5D Heart. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Medicine. 2022;35(8):1498-1516.