Researcher: Salah Al-Zaiti
Al-Zaiti is associate professor and director of interprofessional education, Department of Acute and Tertiary Care in Pitt’s School of Nursing.
For Salah Al-Zaiti, Pittsburgh was the ideal place to develop new artificial intelligence-based technology that can help first responders better detect heart attacks.
“Pittsburgh has been instrumental to [growing] that passion in me,” says Al-Zaiti, associate professor and director of interprofessional education, Department of Acute and Tertiary Care in Pitt’s School of Nursing. “Before I moved to Pittsburgh, I wasn’t even thinking about AI.”
Al-Zaiti came to Pittsburgh in 2013 knowing Pittsburgh-area paramedics use EKGs to diagnose major cardiac events, something that does not occur in every part of the country. However, patients experiencing less acute events often have to undergo an array of tests and hours of observation. Al-Zaiti and his team set out to use AI to expedite that process.
“The innovation was to bring the idea outside of the hospital,” says Al-Zaiti.
With a 10-second EKG reading, the technology — based on data from previous medical events — can construct a full picture of what’s going on in someone’s heart. It has helped medics identify 37 percent more heart attacks during initial screenings.
As the technology is still in the research phase, it is limited to Pittsburgh paramedics and being used in silent mode, meaning only Al-Zaiti and his team are seeing the data. He expects it to be available for wide use in a few years.