AI helps detect 3,000 critical heart attacks in 12 Maharashtra districts

    Diagnosis using artificial intelligence has helped in detecting 3,000 critical heart attacks and also providing early treatment within the golden hour in 12 districts across Maharashtra. The state government launched the AI-powered advanced diagnosis called ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) detection project in February 2021, to reduce fatalities due to heart attack, which has been the leading cause of deaths in Maharashtra.

    Since February 2021, nearly 3,000 patients suffering from severe heart attacks have been diagnosed within a turnaround time of around four minutes in these 12 districts, with the data showing that of these, nearly 70 per cent were male.

    A STEMI is a full-blown heart attack caused by the complete blockage of a heart artery, which obstructs the flow of blood to the heart. The chances of survival, however, increases with early diagnosis and timely treatment.

    Under the programme, a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model has been created; and at least 145 health facilities including rural hospitals, sub-district hospitals and district hospitals with electrocardiogram (ECG) machines have been upgraded as spokes. These have been linked with 38 hubs, which are the nearest tertiary care hospitals equipped with a cath lab facility.

    “So, when a patient is brought to a spoke, an immediate ECG is conducted for free. The report is then uploaded on Cloud, which is connected to the specialities in hubs, which access if it was a heart attack or not… Though the turnaround time is 10 minutes, our doctors usually respond within four minutes,” said Dr Padmaja Jogewar, Joint Director (Non-Communicable Disease cell) of Directorate of Health Services.

    Till November 22, ECG reports have helped identify total 7,377 critical patients, of which, 2,722 patients had suffered severe STEMI heart attack, who upon detection were immediately administered with medicination like thrombolysis, for dissolving dangerous clots in the blood vessels and improving the blood flow which prevents damages to the tissues and organs.

    The STEMI Maharashtra Programme was launched across Akola, Aurangabad, Jalna, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Pune, Ratnagiri, Solapur, Wardha and Thane. During the same period, 3.08 lakh ECGs were conducted on 2.77 lakh referred patients at these centres. According to the data, nearly seven out of 10 patients were male, showing that they were more prone to heart attack.

    Cardiologist Dr Vijay Surase has attributed it to lifestyle differences. “A man’s lifestyle is usually more errant than a woman, like smoking and drinking habits. Also, the sedentary lifestyle and bad food habits add to high cholesterol,” he said.

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