What You Should Know:
– Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards Caption Health a $4.5M grant to support the development of an AI-guided lung ultrasound system.
– The grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be leveraged to create new AI technology that allows medical professionals without prior ultrasound experience to perform lung ultrasounds, expanding access to quality medical care.
Caption Health, a leading medical artificial intelligence (AI) company, today announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the amount of $4.95 million to support the development of innovative AI technology for lung ultrasound. The grant was awarded to Caption Health by the foundation due to the need to further develop solutions that enable timely and accurate diagnosis of pneumonia, the leading killer of children under 5, in resource-limited settings with a shortage of highly trained physicians.
Caption Health already has the first and only FDA cleared AI platform that enables medical professionals without prior ultrasound experience to perform cardiac ultrasound exams (Caption AI). Like cardiac ultrasound, performing lung ultrasound requires a high level of clinical skill and specific expertise, which has limited its broad adoption. With this grant, Caption Health will be able to expand its first-in-class AI technology to lung ultrasound, providing healthcare workers with real-time guidance to acquire diagnostic-quality images for each lung zone and automated interpretation to detect key lung pathologies.
Why It Matters
“Ultrasound can be challenging for clinicians without prior experience because it requires skill in both obtaining and interpreting images. Caption Health is the leader in developing artificial intelligence that combines image acquisition and interpretation to enable clinicians to perform ultrasound regardless of skill level,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Chris Moore, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Chief of the Section of Emergency Ultrasound, and Director of the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship at Yale. “Expanding this AI to lung ultrasound and putting it in the hands of clinicians could have profound implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia, a leading cause of death in our youngest global citizens, as well as for COVID-19 and other lung conditions.”
Lung ultrasound enables the detection of a range of pulmonary pathologies such as pneumonia and other consolidations, pulmonary edema, pleural effusions and pneumothorax. Furthermore, it is non-invasive, portable and does not expose recipients to harmful radiation. As the cost of miniaturizing ultrasound hardware decreases, Caption Health’s AI technology solves the remaining challenge currently limiting ultrasound’s widespread use: enabling clinicians without lengthy specialized training to acquire and interpret diagnostic-quality ultrasound images.
As COVID-19 cases rise, lung ultrasound is playing a critical role in the triage and monitoring of these patients. When patients arrive in the Emergency Department with suspicion of COVID-19, lung ultrasound can be used for early detection of pulmonary involvement, offering higher sensitivity than chest x-rays. For those who are diagnosed with COVID-19, lung ultrasound can be used to grade the degree of pulmonary involvement, and to monitor changes over time. Caption Health’s AI technology will expand access to this powerful diagnostic tool by enabling medical professionals without prior experience in lung ultrasound to perform these exams, and could eventually lead to lung ultrasound becoming a routine part of point-of-care assessments.
“Pulmonary health and cardiovascular health are closely intertwined,” said cardiologist Dr. Randolph Martin, FACC, FASE, FESC, Chief Medical Officer of Caption Health. “Abnormalities or disease states in the lungs can directly cause prominent abnormalities of cardiac function, just as disease states in the heart can lead to marked abnormalities in the lungs. By taking our unique methodology for developing breakthrough AI for cardiac imaging and applying it to lungs, we will continue to broaden the impact we can have in helping with the management of patients with conditions affecting these two vital systems.”
Future Research Plans
Having demonstrated extensive clinical validation for its cardiac ultrasound technology, including a multi-center prospective clinical study and numerous published abstracts, Caption Health intends to seek similar validation for its AI lung ultrasound technology to demonstrate the ability of the technology to equip non-specialists to perform lung ultrasound exams.