back to article AI to detect heart attacks tested in the land of the deep-fried Mars bar

Hospitals in Scotland are trying out AI software that can determine whether a patient is suffering from a heart attack, in an effort to improve accident and emergency response times. Heart attacks can be difficult to detect as its symptoms – including chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath – are associated with many …

  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Not Easy but possible

    Heart Attacks are normally fairly easy to observe when you get a decent EKG recording, basically just monitor the electrical heart muscle contractions, they are quite complex but looking at the baseline level changes with the "p", "QRS" and T-waves will give you a good diagnosis of a potential heart attack or other issues. So all you need to do is look at their heartbeats for a few minutes once you have some EKG interpretation experience (mine's about 40 years now, because that's how I started electronics).

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Not Easy but possible

      And they are using the ECG as one of the inputs to the ML system. Which will probably give them a very good chance of spotting issues before it's visually obvious in just one of those inputs, even to an experienced observer.

      It's not even a new concept:

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Not Easy but possible

        And the troponin test they've been using for years down here.... as I've found out along with several friends.. needle in the arm soon as can be done....and await attatchment of the ECG leads

        1. EricB123 Bronze badge

          Re: Not Easy but possible

          And we then connect the AI output to the blockchain! This will work!

          What utter bullshit!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Easy but possible

      Yeah, but using an EKG machine and interpreting the results will always be specialised. Running an AI model on your laptop at home and answering a few questions won't be.

      The eventual goal with this tech won't be to improve upon a manual detection of a heart attack, it will be to achieve earlier detection and reduce the number of people turning up at a GP. AI in medicine will likely end up becoming a triage tool...suspected severe heart condition? Straight to a specialist, mild condition manageable with medication? Off to the GP you go. etc etc.

    3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Not Easy but possible

      Yeah, I showed up with my first kidney stone--first thing they did was strap me up with the leads.

      When that was clear, they used morphine to diagnose the kidney stone. That was...scarteresting.

  2. Joe 59

    deep fried mars bars?

    So there's a land of deep fried mars bars, that isn't the USA? When is the next flight?

    1. xyz Silver badge

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      We do deep fried vegetables too... Fritters.

      Mmmm... Deep fried mars bars, a pile of fritters and at least 8 pints of heavy. Must go home more often.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: deep fried mars bars?

        And deep fried haggis?

        1. Muscleguy

          Re: deep fried mars bars?

          Battered and deep fried. Some places like my local will do black, red or white pudding too.

    2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      I blame the American Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, N./S. Dakota) with their overly indulgent "state fairs" [1]. They'll deep-fry just about anything [2].

      [1] Coincidentally, yesterday was "Statehood Day" for Minnesota [3].

      [2] My personal favorite at the Minn. State Fair -- at least in hindsight -- was the Pronto Pup: a corn dog using not cornmeal but wheat-based pancake batter, so it fries up extra thick and they have to use a full-round dowel, not those weak, flat sticks. I've lived in Michigan for a while (18 years [4]) and need to take my kids to "The Great Minnesota Get-Together" if only so my son gets a Pronto Pup.

      [3] Minnesota has the world-famous Mayo Clinic -- they missed their opportunity on this one!

      [4] Michigan does not have their own state fair anymore, but they do have plenty of indulgent heart-clogging food: paczki (Polish pre-Lenten doughnut), Detroit-style deep-dish pizza, and Mackinac Island fudge.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: deep fried mars bars?

        Surely a pączek is just a doughnut made with high quailty ingedients and skill. No more "heart-clogging" than a run of the mill doughnut, just tastier.

    3. Bitsminer Silver badge

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      They claim it's Scotland.

      I thought they were talking Alabama.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: deep fried mars bars?

        Deep fried roadkill?

    4. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      The deep fried Mars bar (which was reputedly invented here) is often used as the archetypal unhealthy deep-fried Scottish food. But ironically, it's not actually *that* common here. More of an "I've tried it once [if that]" novelty, and as much with tourists as the people living here.

      It's all the *other* deep-fried or generally high-fat foods that Scots eat that's the bigger problem.

      1. Ken G Silver badge


        Like the pizza.

        Should I assume this AI doesn't come with voice recognition?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      Not just Scotland - I've seen a chippy in Dorset offer deep fried Mars bars and Creme Eggs.

      Never went in there, went to the "normal" chippy down the road!

    6. EricB123 Bronze badge

      Re: deep fried mars bars?

      Deep fried butter is far superior to a fried Mars bar. Pure fat, yum yum!

  3. bo111

    Cost efficiency

    I often find that visiting a general practitioner, even a specialist, is a waste of time and money. It would be more cost-efficient to go directly to diagnostics, provided it was cheaper. AI could help a lot.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Deep Fried Mars Bar

    Did the study check of the patients surveyed, when they last consumed a Deep Fried Mars Bar? What if consuming a DFMB meant you were less likely to have a cardiac arrest within 24 hours?

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Muscleguy

    Only once

    Only once have I seen a deep fried mars bar on offer in a Scottish chippy. That was in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh a real tourist trap. It would also have been 20 years ago. I do recall I had the haggis supper though. I have some haggis in my fridge here in Dundee. At least half of it will be haggis pakoras sometime soon. Those should be much better known than the chocolate bar thing. Haggis pakoras are the foods of the gods.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Only once

      I saw then for sale a bit further north than you the summer before Covid - in Dunkeld (another touristy place).

  7. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Too much to know

    AI for diagnosis consultation will make a huge difference in a doctor being able to treat somebody promptly for the actual condition. As the article states, chest pain can be an issue with many things that aren't a heart attack. It happened to me once and it turned out to be an allergic reaction rather than the ticker having issues. The same can be said about many sorts of symptoms and doctors have very little time to make a decision these days which can lead to mistakes. Insurance companies are also likely to be onboard with AI diagnostics so treatments are more accurate and expensive treatments are only deployed when needed. My doctor could have sent me in for an angiogram, MRI and all sorts of tests that would have cost me and insurance a load of money. It just so happens that many people in my area were also having severe allergic reactions due to dry conditions and wind stirring up pollens. I was tested for my reaction to the pollens and it turns out I reacted badly to what was blowing in the wind and the ECG wasn't showing any signs of a heart condition.

    Even if the AI can only short list a menu of possibilities, many of those might be easy to rule out right away but it might flag something that the doctor won't have thought of.

    1. Chz

      Re: Too much to know

      There are at least half a dozen things that can manifest as chest pain with light-headedness and even heart palpitations. In my case, it was a raging h.pylori infection. Having finished off my stomach with inflammation, it moved on to the nervous system where it can even cause dementia if left alone for too long. It's really quite a relief to go in and get hooked up and told "Well, there's clearly something wrong with you but your heart is fine" Though it did take another month and a battery of tests to figure out exactly what the cause was. It normally just causes stomach upset and ulcers, I was just lucky to have it progress onto the CNS.

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