September 29 2021:Balaji is a businessman who owns a garment shop in one of the busiest streets in Chennai. He travels to his shop on his two-wheeler, threading through heavy and chaotic traffic every day. His job requires him to sit for long hours overseeing his staff and to wait on clients, and he smokes on occasion, primarily to while away time, waiting for potential customers. There are numerous eateries, bakeries and street vendors selling various food items in the vicinity of his shop, and as a result, Balaji finds himself snacking frequently.
On one unremarkable Wednesday evening, Balaji received a WhatsApp forward [AJS1] from his relative for Apollo’s ‘AICVD program’. Little did he know that this was going to change his life! AICVD is an AI-driven diagnostic program introduced by Apollo Hospitals that can predict the onset of cardiovascular problems.
Intrigued, Balaji decided to enrol in the program. Also, quite a few years had passed since his last checkup, and he felt it was about time he got a health check done as well. He was also eager to see the kind of analysis an AI system would generate.
On the day of the AICVD test, Balaji was feeling extremely confident that his results would come back normal. At this point, Balaji was more interested in finding out how well an AI could predict possible medical conditions or whether it was just another marketing gimmick.
When Balaji walked into Apollo Hospitals for his test, he was greeted by an Apollo expert who guided him through the program and explained how it worked. After the test was administered, he was asked to wait for the results. Balaji waited patiently, not expecting anything out of the ordinary.
However, to his dismay, when the results arrived, he was diagnosed with ‘high risk’ category for developing cardiovascular diseases!
Using AI to save lives
The test results were a little hard to digest for Balaji, and as expected, he had a lot of queries for his Apollo expert.
Balaji was beginning to feel a little anxious and agitated after the results. Noticing this, the Apollo team of experts reassured him and asked him not to be alarmed. They told Balaji that this test was the first step in preventing any major cardiovascular incident, and he should be glad that he got the test done in time before he suffered any major issue.
The Apollo expert also explained the fact that more than 60% of morbidity and mortality in India is due to Non-Communicable Diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases. The Apollo expert further explained that the best way to beat cardiovascular diseases is to prevent them, and the first important step in any prevention program is risk assessment. [AJS2]
Therefore, to develop a strong prevention care built on accurate risk assessment, Apollo Hospitals, in collaboration with Microsoft India, developed the ‘first-ever’ Artificial Intelligence-based cardiovascular diseases (CVD) Risk Score API (Application Program Interface) called the AICVD.
The AICVD program is designed to predict the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the Indian population. This program has been validated by Maastricht University, Netherlands and King George Medical University, Lucknow.
About the AICVD program
The Apollo expert guiding Balaji explained how the AICVD program is found to be more accurate and effective than other routine body check-up programs, and the fact that it aims to reduce healthcare costs for patients by promoting preventive healthcare. The key objective of AI-powered Risk Score program is to develop a more accurate risk prediction model to avert cardiovascular diseases in high-risk groups.
AI provides a more accurate risk score
The Apollo expert explained that the Cardiovascular Risk Score algorithm was built using more than 500,000 patient records from Apollo Hospitals. This AI-based program predicts the 10-year risk of a person having a potential cardiovascular problem such as a heart attack or a stroke, with almost 90% accuracy.
The risk estimate considers factors such as age, gender, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, medication use, and diabetic status. The scoring also considers other risk contributors including lifestyle attributes such as diet, tobacco and smoking preferences and physical activity. The other clinical parameters factored in the assessment include psychological stress and anxiety as reflected via the rate of respiration, hypertension, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These factors are shown in the table below:
Patient Parameters/Medical History/Lifestyle /Heart Health Attributes
Age /Hypertension/Diet/ Heart Symptom
Weight/History of HeartDisease/Physical activity/Diastolic BP
BMI/Family History of Heart Disease/--/Pulse Rhythm/Respiration Rate
The combination of AI, along with the expertise in cardiovascular care offered by top specialists at Apollo Hospitals, helps prevent heart diseases, saves lives and ensures that those with existing or potential heart diseases can make informed choices about their health.
Benefits of AICVD
Convinced about the AICVD program, Balaji wanted to know how AI helps Apollo Hospitals provide better predictive outcomes for serious health conditions like heart-linked diseases.
The health expert told Balaji that the AI-driven approach is being used extensively at Apollo Health Check centers to provide personalized insights for high-risk patients, including a study involving a selected cohort of thirty-three thousand patients. Importantly, this is also the first time an AI-based cardiovascular risk score has been generated after analyzing India-specific data, tailored for the Indian population.
The entire data generation, analytics, and clinical decision support system is integrated into the organization’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR), making it easier for activities such as patient follow-ups and eventually lowering their risk profiles. The Clinical Decision Support System provides a mechanism for the physician to prospectively identify relevant risk factors and advice patients on how to reduce identified risks.
The AICVD Risk Score empowers physicians to look at patients with risk more holistically and provide insights to patients for lifestyle modification and timely interventions. The program benefits both patients and physicians in helping them decide on treatment modalities, prevention, lifestyle modification, education, overall prediction of the outcome of cardiovascular conditions and risk for further events.
Balaji peeked into the future and felt he needed to make changes
On assessing the results of the program, and getting them validated by his Apollo expert, Balaji decided to make calculated changes to his lifestyle to prevent the possibility of developing heart conditions in the future. He also understood the vast advantage that AI brings in vis-à-vis preventive healthcare by providing accurate results for patients, and as a result, he got his family members to enroll in the program as well. Guided by the results, he decided to quit smoking, walk, or cycle to his shop at least thrice a week, and consciously avoided fried items and snacks while working at his shop. All of these steps have led to positive changes for Balaji and he is now leading a more fulfilling and healthier life.
Source:Apollo Health Library
Our main report on AICVD from Apollo Hospitals