UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Automated Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis by Echocardiography without ECG: Accuracy and Applications of a New Deep Learning Approach Lu, Nelson; Vaseli, Hooman; Mahdavi, Mobina; Taheri Dezaki, Fatemah; Luong, Christina; Yeung, Darwin; Gin, Ken; Tsang, Michael; Nair, Parvathy; Jue, John; et al.


Background: Automated rhythm detection on echocardiography through artificial intelligence (AI) has yet to be fully realized. We propose an AI model trained to identify atrial fibrillation (AF) using apical 4-chamber (AP4) cines without requiring electrocardiogram (ECG) data. Methods: Transthoracic echocardiography studies of consecutive patients ≥ 18 years old at our tertiary care centre were retrospectively reviewed for AF and sinus rhythm. The study was first interpreted by level III-trained echocardiography cardiologists as the gold standard for rhythm diagnosis based on ECG rhythm strip and imaging assessment, which was also verified with a 12-lead ECG around the time of the study. AP4 cines with three cardiac cycles were then extracted from these studies with the rhythm strip and Doppler information removed and introduced to the deep learning model ResNet(2+1)D with an 80:10:10 training–validation–test split ratio. Results: 634 patient studies (1205 cines) were included. After training, the AI model achieved high accuracy on validation for detection of both AF and sinus rhythm (mean F1-score = 0.92; AUROC = 0.95). Performance was consistent on the test dataset (mean F1-score = 0.94, AUROC = 0.98) when using the cardiologist’s assessment of the ECG rhythm strip as the gold standard, who had access to the full study and external ECG data, while the AI model did not. Conclusions: AF detection by AI on echocardiography without ECG appears accurate when compared to an echocardiography cardiologist’s assessment of the ECG rhythm strip as the gold standard. This has potential clinical implications in point-of-care ultrasound and stroke risk stratification.

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