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Spain

The use of AI in electrocardiograms could reduce hospitalisations for heart failure by 40%

15th April 2024

  • EIT Health supports and finances with €1.7M the FAITHFUL project led by the start-up Idoven
  • Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalisation in people over 65; more than 15 million people suffer from it in Europe and 770,000 in Spain
  • The consortium, led by Idoven, is comprised of leading international health institutions such as AstraZeneca Spain, the Servicio Madrileño de Salud, the Catalan Institute of Health, and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, among others.

The consortium of the FAITHFUL innovation project, led by the Spanish start-up Idoven, with the support of EIT Health, has just launched the development of a technological solution that aims to prevent 4 out of 10 hospitalisations for heart failure (HF) in Europe.

EIT Health has selected this project led by the Spanish start-up Idoven, with funding of 1.7 million euros until the end of 2025. As Dr. Izabel Alfany, Managing Director of EIT Health Spain, explains, “We promote collaborative leadership among all our partners and ecosystem players to make transformative innovation in Spain and Europe possible. We support the FAITHFUL project and the organisations that make up its consortium because they help us to lead the culture of innovation in Spain and because they will enable a significant improvement in the healthcare system and the health of patients with heart failure.”

The project is based on the use of advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence applied to electrocardiograms (ECGs) to detect early signs of heart failure in Primary Care settings. By providing a disease score from ECG results, this ground-breaking approach provides clinicians at healthcare centres with crucial information to make informed decisions on patient treatment and management, with earlier referral to a cardiologist. The project will recruit more than 2,500 European patients with risk factors associated with heart failure to demonstrate the reliability of its algorithm in the early detection of heart failure decompensation.

Heart failure ranks first in terms of hospital admissions

Heart failure affects 770,000 people in Spain1 and more than 15 million in Europe2. It is also the leading cause of hospitalisation in people over 65 years of age and of unscheduled hospital readmissions3. Studies suggest that hospitalisations for HF will increase by 50% in the next 25 years4, mainly due to the progressive ageing of the population and a growing prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity, among others.

Dr Manuel Marina Breysse, cardiologist, and CEO of Idoven, explains: “This project has the potential to transform the way heart failure is diagnosed and managed radically.” Heart failure represents a huge cost to healthcare systems because it is difficult to diagnose before it manifests itself. “In this way, we want to contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system, improving the health and quality of life of the population,” adds Dr. Marina Breysse.

“This project represents our dedication to the frontline of cardiovascular health, highlighting the crucial role of digital health innovation and artificial intelligence in redefining the future of healthcare. As a Core Partner of EIT Health, we are co-leading the drive for the transformation of healthcare systems in Spain, fostering an approach that integrates effectiveness, efficiency, and profoundly patient-centric care,” says AstraZeneca Spain’s Director of Innovation and Digital Strategy, Dr. César Velasco.

FAITHFUL has been selected by EIT Health in its Flagships call which aims to drive the development and adoption of digital health solutions, maximise the potential of health data, embrace new value-based healthcare models, and strengthen the European healthcare industry.

Under the leadership of Idoven, the FAITHFUL consortium is formed by prominent health organizations, including AstraZeneca Spain, the Servicio Madrileño de Salud (SERMAS), the Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital 12 de Octubre, the Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica del Hospital Gregorio Marañón, the Fundación para la Investigación e Innovación Biosanitaria de Atención Primaria, the Institut Català de la Salut, Karolinska Institute, Region Stockholm, MADoPA – Centre Expert en Technologies et Services pour le Maintien en Autonomie à Domicile des Personnes Âgées, and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

Additionally, FAITHFUL counts on the collaboration of several key external partners, including the Fundación Instituto de Investigación Marqués de Valdecilla (Idival), Fundació TIC Salut Social, and the Fundación del Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Médicos de Madrid (Fundación ICOMEM).

References 

(1) Sicras-Mainar, A., Sicras-Navarro, A., Palacios, B., Varela, L., & Delgado, J. F. (2020). Epidemiología y tratamiento de la insuficiencia cardiaca en España: estudio PATHWAYS-HF. Revista Española de Cardiología. Published. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.recesp.2020.09.014

(2) Heart Failure Policy Network. Heart Failure Policy and Practice in Europe. London: HFPN; 2020. Available at: http://www.healthpolicypartnership.com/app/uploads/Heart-failure-policy-and-practice-in-Europe.pdf

(3) ¿Qué es la insuficiencia cardíaca? (2021, 8 febrero). Heart Failure Matters. https://www.heartfailurematters.org/es/ conocer-la-insuficiencia-cardiaca/que-es-la-insuficiencia-cardiaca/

(4) Cowie, M. R., Anker, S. D., Cleland, J. G. F., Felker, G. M., Filippatos, G., Jaarsma, T., Jourdain, P., Knight, E., Massie, B., Ponikowski, P., & López-Sendón, J. (2014). Improving care for patients with acute heart failure: before, during and after hospitalization. ESC Heart Failure, 1(2), 110–145. https://doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.12021

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