Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke and every four minutes, someone dies of a stroke according to the CDC. In 2017, stroke accounted for about one of every 19 deaths in the U.S. according to the American Heart Association. NICO.LAB, a Dutch MedTech company, has developed an innovative artificial intelligence-powered clinical decision support system to help doctors more effectively and efficiently identify stroke symptoms in patients. This AI-powered algorithm, StrokeViewer, has already been released in the UK, Australia and other European countries and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved it for use in the U.S.
Only 38% of people were aware of stroke symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a stroke. Patients who arrive at the emergency room within three hours of their first symptoms are less likely to have disability three months after their stroke than those who received delayed care (CDC). NICO.LAB hopes to reduce these time delays in identifying strokes and offer physicians fast diagnostics for further interpretation and quicker responses to patients experiencing strokes.
“Medical specialists are under enormous pressure to make fast decisions day and night, which is not easy. Complicated assessment and interhospital communication sadly make life difficult for physicians motivated to treat stroke victims effectively,” Merel Boers, CEO and co-founder of NICO.LAB, said.
The StrokeViewer technology is able to detect image characteristics associated with a Large Vessel Occlusion (LVO) by analyzing CT scans to detect hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke and automatically alerts physicians within minutes after the patient arrives at the hospital. StrokeViewer’s mobile miniPACS with a full diagnostic viewer allows physicians to have CT images and the AI analysis at all times by using their smartphone or other portable or home devices.
“We deliver superior accuracy in the automatic detection of hemorrhages within seconds,” NICO.LAB states on their website. “StrokeViewer analyses the original head CTs and displays an overlay for easy interpretation. Our efficient AI algorithm shows excellent performance in segmenting and quantifying the most difficult cases on par with expert neuroradiologists.”
The economic burden of stroke in the U.S. exceeds $100 billion per year according to a 2020 study by Lekoubou Girotra et al. This includes medical costs including procedures, treatments and medications, as well as lost wages from long-term effects. According to the CDC, stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S. and is becoming an increasingly important issue due to an aging population and unhealthy lifestyles. Chairman of NICO.LAB, Paul Lappin, said that the company believes that AI will help save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in healthcare.