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In Pasadena, Artificial Intelligence Generates New Hope for Silent and Super Silent Heart Attacks

Published on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 | 5:54 pm

In a remarkable development for cardiovascular medicine, a promising and innovative young researcher at the Huntington Medical Research Institutes and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena has accomplished significant strides in developing a noninvasive method for diagnosing heart attacks and heart failure.

Cardiovascular researchers at the Institutes are now leading the way with advances in artificial intelligence applications for detecting silent and super-silent heart attacks.

Rashid Alavi, PhD, earned prestigious recognitions and a postdoctoral fellowship at Huntington Medical Research Institutes in partnership with the California Institute of Technology.

Alavi’s groundbreaking work, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning, has the potential to revolutionize the detection and treatment of silent heart attacks, a major concern for healthcare professionals worldwide.

His preclinical research, recently published in the European Society of Cardiology, demonstrated that artificial intelligence models could detect heart attacks with an impressive 90% accuracy by measuring waveforms in carotid arteries.

This innovative, noninvasive method could be scaled to clinical trials, enabling instantaneous detection of cardiovascular events in medical clinics or even at home using a wearable device or smartphone.

Alavi’s approach is independent of traditional diagnostic measurements, providing new hope for patients who suffer from “silent” or “super silent” heart attacks without the usual symptoms.

“This new technology has the potential to enhance our ability to reach and treat patients experiencing a heart attack in a faster and much more efficient fashion,” said Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, Huntington Medical Research Institutes’ Chief Science Officer and Scientific Director of Cardiovascular Research, who serves as one of Dr. Alavi’s mentors.

Alavi’s postdoctoral mentorship team includes not only Dr. Robert Kloner at Huntington Medical Research Institutes, but also Morteza Gharib, Ph.D., professor of Aeronautics and Medical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Niema Pahlevan, Ph.D., associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and Medicine at the University of Southern California and visiting scientist at Huntington Medical Research Institutes.

As Alavi continues his pioneering work at Huntington Medical Research Institutes, his application of artificial intelligence technology holds the potential to save countless lives and enhance Pasadena’s reputation as a hub for groundbreaking medical research.

During his doctoral studies, Alavi earned multiple prestigious recognitions. He was among the top five finalists nominated for the coveted 2023 Young Investigator Award of the American College of Cardiology. Alavi received the 2023 Student Recognition Award of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, presented at the 42nd annual academic honors convocation of the University of Southern California, where he was recognized for his collection of work on technological advances in preventing heart diseases.

Heart attacks are a leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 805,000 cases occurring annually in the United States alone. Nearly 50% of these attacks are “silent” or “super silent,” lacking the usual symptoms and making early detection crucial.

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