ITC DIA Europe

HeartShield: Early warning app for heart disease

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on Oct 16, 2017

HeartShield, a startup based in Vienna, uses artificial intelligence to determine whether someone is a potential candidate for a heart attack or heart failure.
By developing solutions for recognizing, tracking and preventing heart disease using artificial intelligence, HeartShield can recognize risk factors and narrowed arteries, in time for early risk reduction. HearShield helps to prevent dangerous disease events such as heart attacks for free anywhere and anytime in time in less than two minutes and without waiting times or syringes.

The promising startup developed a novel, patent pending artificial intelligence platform able to learn the signs of heart disease risk from patient data. Instead of using 19th/20th century statistics, as in clinical heart rate variability measurements, they allow computers to learn warnings signs autonomously in a data driven fashion. Crucially, the same artificial intelligence can learn from, and recognize risk from, most devices that can measure heart rate – including smartphones, smart watches and clinical or portable ECGs. At HeartShield they have compared the algorithms behind HeartShield to state of the art approaches on several patient cohorts in multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Peer-reviewed scientific papers show that HeartShield outperforms the best heart rate variability predictors in detecting heart disease, and is more reliable than blood test based risk scores (e.g. FRS) in recognizing coronary artery disease.

An easy to use life saver
The HeartShield App is easy to use. All the user has to do is place his finger in front of the phone’s camera lens for 60 seconds and run the app. The oxygen content of the blood is measured with the help of transmitted light and the heart rate is calculated. Thanks to smart, artificial intelligence algorithms, blockages in the arteries can then be identified with a high degree of certainty.  The exact timing of the individual heartbeats results in a model of the dynamics of the heart muscle and the adaptability of the body influences this dynamic when the heart ‘s blood flow is not right, i.e. if the arteries are narrowed healthy dynamics differ from those in heart disease.

Impressive prove: heart rates of Hillary Clinton versus Bill Clinton in debate
To convince the world of the HearthShield technology, the brothers David und Tamas Madl, co-founders of HeartShield, both AI experts, gave an impressive demonstration during the concluding TV debate of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Their heart rates were measured using the color of the skin on their foreheads. The analysis showed that Clinton’s heart rate, in contrast to Trump’s, was generally low. Only on issues such as arms possession the rate increased noticeably, whereas Trumps heart rate roses when the topic of immigration was debated.

Cardiovascular diseases are the biggest threat
According to the World Health Organisation WHO, cardiovascular diseases are the biggest threat to people, it is the leading cause of death. Even though there are symptoms that help to detect a cardiac infarction, the question is, how many of us are aware of those symptoms?

For many people, there are preventable causes of heart disease risk. For example, cholesterol can combine with other substances, and build up plaque in the arteries. Growing plaque can start blocking blood flow and can even rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke. These risks can be reduced with a healthier lifestyle or with medical treatment, if they are recognized in time. Unfortunately, 16-78% are unaware of at least one risk factor according to the WHO.

Why we selected HeartShield for DIA Munich
Cardiovascular diseases are the biggest threat according to the WHO. The HeartShield ambulance triage AI achieves 15% accuracy improvement over the current state of the art [MEWS] in detecting serious or life-threatening cases.

At DIA Munich HearthShield will show and tell about their collaboration with Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services and their latest invention: an emergency app that will increase the survival rate for sudden cardiac death by 20 %, through a combination of 

  • automated vital sign check,
  • instructions for bystander CPR,
  • faster ambulance dispatch through HeartShield’s breakthrough triage system.

Who is HeartShield?
Thanks to the START:IP initiative operated by the INiTS university business incubator, the HeartShield App of the brothers Madl could be developed. The initiative matches unexploited research findings from Austrian universities with individuals who are interested in creating new companies.

Since its launch in 2002, INiTS, Universitäres Gründerservice Wien GmbH, has established itself as the city of Vienna’s high-tech incubator and one of the world’s foremost academic incubators. With its lean startup approach, tailor-made consultancy service, performance-based investment rounds and dense network of partners, INiTS has become the elite training ground for high-performance startups in the Austrian startup ecosystem. This is evidenced by the impressive track record of INiTS startups and reflected in their above-average performance in terms of sales, longevity and numbers of employees etc.

The siblings David and Tamas Madl are the founders of HeartShield. David is a former Research Explorer at the University of Edinburgh. His brother Tamas Madl is PhD and “Principal Investigator” at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Vienna).

David und Tamas Madl, co-founders of HeartShield


Presenter: David Madl

Amsterdam 12-13 June


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