Cleerly’s Personalized Approach to Heart Attack Risk

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Despite advances in cardiology, most heart attacks occur without warning. Cleerly has developed a cardiology care management system based on image analysis and AI, to help clinicians personalize a patient’s heart attack risk so they can determine who needs intensive management—and who doesn’t.

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, an unsolved problem that has inspired much innovation from the pharmaceutical and medtech industries. But despite many advances, the field of cardiology is still not good at understanding which patients are most likely to suffer a myocardial infarction.

We’ve all had the same experience: someone we knew who seemed to glow with good health who then died unexpectedly of a heart attack; the thin, active, health-conscious person who went out for a run and never came back. In fact, more than half of all heart attacks occur in people in whom there were no warning symptoms, and after the event, outcomes are rarely good. Approximately one-third die within the first month, one-third go on to develop heart failure, and only a third survive without major complications and go on to live a normal life.

For cardiologist James Min, MD, that personal experience happened when he was taking care of critically ill patients in the ICU. He faced a young man, 36 years old, who’d had a massive heart attack. The patient survived, but Min thought, “I’m on the wrong side of the healthcare curve; I need to be on the preventive side rather than treating late-stage disease.”

Min, an expert in coronary artery disease, took action. He co-founded the prevention-focused HeartHealth program, a collaboration between the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (for which Min served as the director) and Weill Cornell Medicine. “Our HeartHealth program took a very different approach to preventing heart attacks than other preventive programs,” Min says. Fast forward several years and, “with four faculty members taking care of some very sick people, we never witnessed a single heart attack in our patients.”


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