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Israeli AI startup making waves in the fight against coronavirus

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DiA Imaging recently received US Food and Drug Administration approval and the CE mark for two of its new AI-powered ultrasound solutions; LVivo RV aimed at helping to diagnose and monitor right heart ailments in acute and chronic patients suspected V injury, including those with COVID-19

By ILANIT CHERNICK

Israeli startup DiA Imaging recently received US Food and Drug Administration approval and the CE mark for two of its new AI-powered ultrasound solutions aimed at helping in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to DiA’s Edith Schlanger, the company is the leading provider of AI-powered ultrasound analysis solutions. 

“Our AI-based technology addresses the two main challenges ultrasound users face today – manually capturing and visually analyzing ultrasound images,” she told IsraelNewsStand. “DiA automates this process, therefore, making the use and analysis of ultrasound images smarter and  accessible to all.”

The two new tools from DiA Imaging that have now received approval in the US and Europe are the LVivo RV and the LVivo Bladder.

The LVivo RV, the startup explained, is the first AI-based fully automated analysis of the heart’s right ventricle (RV) “and can be used to diagnose and monitor right heart ailments in acute and chronic patients suspected to have RV injury, including those with COVID-19.”

The LVivo Bladder uses AI to deliver automated bladder volume measurements on ultrasound devices, significantly reducing patient scanning time and risk of infection.

Hila Goldman-Aslan, DiA’s CEO and Co-Founder said that “physicians now face a host of new challenges and restrictions on the frontlines that underscores the critical role of ultrasound and the value of having access to AI-powered solutions.

She stressed that with FDA and CE approvals, “DiA takes a big step toward strengthening our AI offerings for cardiac ultrasound while realizing our vision of making ultrasound analysis smarter and more accessible across a broader range of healthcare segments.”

In a statement, the company pointed out that there is growing evidence linking COVID-19 mortality and right ventricle heart failure. 

According to a study conducted at Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital found that 31% of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had right ventricle failure, while 41% of patients in this subset who died had signs of RV dilation or enlargement. 

“By automatically providing quantified 2D analysis of the RV’s size and function, LVivo RV helps detect and monitor right heart failure,” the AI tech startup said adding that LVivo RV utilizes DiA’s flagship LVivo Artificial Intelligence “to deliver faster, more accurate analysis while at the same time enabling clinicians to shorten patient scanning and evaluation time.”

Schlanger explained to IsraelNewsStand that this technology “is cross-platform and vendor-neutral, and easily added to any ultrasound device or healthcare IT/PACS system  as part of existing user workflows. 

“As recent studies highlight the importance of monitoring the heart of COVID-19 patients, DiA’s solutions help ultrasound users on the frontlines to quickly identify and monitor COVID-19 patients’ heart, reducing bottlenecks and risk of infection by shortening the patients scanning time,” Schlanger stressed.

Asked about how their AI works, Schlanger highlighted that DiA’s technology “imitates the way the human eye detects borders and identifies motion, allowing clinicians with all levels of experience to capture the right ultrasound images, such as the cardiac right and left ventricles, and automatically identify clinical abnormalities that are otherwise difficult to identify visually.”

Discussing how the company was founded, Schlanger said that it all began at Israel’s Ben Gurion University, where Michal Yaacobi, one of DiA’s founders, was a M.Sc. student in bioengineering who was seeking a compelling project for her graduate thesis. 

“That’s when she met Dr. Noah Liel-Cohen, the head of Echocardiography from the nearby Soroka University Medical Center,” Schlanger continued. “Together, they decided to address a major challenge they saw facing ultrasound users: easily and accurately analyzing ultrasound images.” 

Their goal, Schlanger said, was to see if an automated, objective solution could effectively address the subjectivity typically associated with analyzing ultrasound images visually so that clinicians, with all levels of experience or ultrasound training, could make more confident clinical decisions. 

“Together with Hila Goldman-Aslan and Arnon Toussia-Cohen, DiA was established in 2010 to bring the benefits of AI-powered ultrasound imaging analysis to all ultrasound clinical stakeholders in more clinical settings,” she said. 

Addressing where DiA’s technology is currently available, Schlanger emphasized that they “offer a full suite of FDA/CE approved cardiac ultrasound analysis and an abdominal solution. 

“We continuously working on expanding our offering to additional anatomic areas, to support our vision of making ultrasound use and analysis accessible to all,” she said, adding that that DiA’s AI solutions LVivo Toolbox is already available in the market and is utilized by thousands of end users in over 20 countries.

Asked what the future has in store for DiA, Schlanger said they “will continue this year to support ultrasound users using its AI, specifically those on the frontlines of COVID 19, partner with additional leading channel partners and release new AI ultrasound solutions.”

For Dr Anthony M. Demariaa leading cardiologist at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center and a co-investigator of the multi-center study for LVivo RV, this new technology “is a welcome and very useful addition to clinicians’ toolbox for more quickly and effectively monitoring the right ventricle.”

He said that RV has always been very difficult to evaluate, due to its unique structure and location,” 

“This is further compounded by the complexity of the analysis itself, which relies on a combination of manual calculations and visual user input,” Demariaa concluded, making it clear that LVivo RV could be a game-changer in this field. 

*Featured Image: One of DiA’s AI solution for cardiac ultrasound analysis, LVivo EF, on GE Healthcare’s handheld ultrasound, Vscan Extend. (Credit: DiA Imaging)

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