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AI Technology Helps Identify Patients At Risk From Sepsis


Prof. Noam Shomron and colleagues trained an artificial intelligence program to identify patients at risk of serious illness from blood infections. (Courtesy of Tel Aviv University)

By Abigail Klein Leichman

A new artificial intelligence technology developed at Tel Aviv University will make it possible to identify patients at risk of serious illness from blood infections — one of the world’s leading causes of morbidity and mortality.

The researchers trained the AI program to study the electronic medical records of about 8,000 patients at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center who were found to be positive for blood infections between the years 2014 and 2020. These records included demographic data, blood test results, medical history and diagnosis.

“We wanted to see if the AI would identify patterns of information in the files that would allow us to automatically predict which patients would develop serious illness, or even death, as a result of the infection,” explained Prof. Noam Shomron.

The program automatically identified risk factors with an accuracy of 82 percent.

“Using artificial intelligence, the algorithm was able to find patterns that surprised us, parameters in the blood that we hadn’t even thought about taking into account,” said Shomron.

“We are now working with medical staff to understand how this information can be used to rank patients in terms of the severity of the infection. We can use the software to help doctors detect the patients who are at maximum risk.”

While the blood system normally is sterile one, an infection can occur during surgery, or as the result of complications from other infections, such as pneumonia or meningitis. The body’s immunological response to the blood infection can cause sepsis or shock, dangerous conditions that may lead to organ failure and even death.

Results of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team from Shomron’s genomics lab and colleagues from the medical center.

Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s technology-transfer company, is working to register a global patent for the groundbreaking technology.

Ramot CEO Keren Primor Cohen said, “Ramot believes in this innovative technology’s ability to bring about a significant change in the early identification of patients at risk and help hospitals reduce costs. This is an example of effective cooperation between the university’s researchers and hospitals, which improves the quality of medical care in Israel and around the world.”

Produced in association with ISRAEL21c.

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