VALENCIA, Spain—Artificial intelligence (AI) can help assess the health of the fetal heart, according to Edwin Quarello, MD, PhD, head of gynecology, obstetrics, and assisted reproductive technology at Hôpital Saint Joseph, in Marseille, France, and the chief medical officer of Diagnoly. 

AI can improve the resolution and the quality of ultrasound pictures, automatically extract pictures, perform automatic measurements and quality control, differentiate between normal and abnormal pictures, and predict disease prognosis, Dr. Quarello said during his presentation at the 20th World Congress in Fetal Medicine, entitled “How artificial intelligence can help in fetal heart assessment?” The approach can be useful in both screening and diagnosis. 

Explaining how the software works, Dr. Quarello said the presence or absence of 54 anatomical landmarks or quality criteria are assessed in a binary way on many pictures as a whole instead of just one image. 

Dr. Quarello also presented data about a retrospective audit of how efficient the system is. “There was excellent concordance between AI and an expert,” he said.

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He concluded that AI can improve medical practice by assessing the completeness and quality of the ultrasound, automatically view, extract, and report data, and conduct fetal cardiac screening in real-time, thereby saving time to focus on radiographic examination by the expert.

Congenital heart defects are conditions present at birth that can affect the structure and function of a baby’s heart. These can be missed because of the absence of analysis of at least 1 of the views recommended by the guidelines, failure to obtain picture(s) of good quality and failure to recognize the unusual nature of a picture, and the disease not being accessible despite good quality examination. The first 3 limitations are associated with humans and can be improved using AI.

“We have reached the human limits,” Dr. Quarello said. “AI provides a digital seatbelt to improve the security of fetal assessment.”


Quarello E, Dupont C, Voznyuk Y. How artificial intelligence can help in fetal heart assessment? Oral presentation at: 20th World Congress in Fetal Medicine; June 27, 2023; Valencia, Spain.