The Role of AI in Characterizing the DCM Phenotype

Front Cardiovasc Med. 2021 Dec 21:8:787614. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2021.787614. eCollection 2021.


Dilated Cardiomyopathy is conventionally defined by left ventricular dilatation and dysfunction in the absence of coronary disease. Emerging evidence suggests many patients remain vulnerable to major adverse outcomes despite clear therapeutic success of modern evidence-based heart failure therapy. In this era of personalized medical care, the conventional assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction falls short in fully predicting evolution and risk of outcomes in this heterogenous group of heart muscle disease, as such, a more refined means of phenotyping this disease appears essential. Cardiac MRI (CMR) is well-placed in this respect, not only for its diagnostic utility, but the wealth of information captured in global and regional function assessment with the addition of unique tissue characterization across different disease states and patient cohorts. Advanced tools are needed to leverage these sensitive metrics and integrate with clinical, genetic and biochemical information for personalized, and more clinically useful characterization of the dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype. Recent advances in artificial intelligence offers the unique opportunity to impact clinical decision making through enhanced precision image-analysis tasks, multi-source extraction of relevant features and seamless integration to enhance understanding, improve diagnosis, and subsequently clinical outcomes. Focusing particularly on deep learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence, that has garnered significant interest in the imaging community, this paper reviews the main developments that could offer more robust disease characterization and risk stratification in the Dilated Cardiomyopathy phenotype. Given its promising utility in the non-invasive assessment of cardiac diseases, we firstly highlight the key applications in CMR, set to enable comprehensive quantitative measures of function beyond the standard of care assessment. Concurrently, we revisit the added value of tissue characterization techniques for risk stratification, showcasing the deep learning platforms that overcome limitations in current clinical workflows and discuss how they could be utilized to better differentiate at-risk subgroups of this phenotype. The final section of this paper is dedicated to the allied clinical applications to imaging, that incorporate artificial intelligence and have harnessed the comprehensive abundance of data from genetics and relevant clinical variables to facilitate better classification and enable enhanced risk prediction for relevant outcomes.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; cardiac magnetic resonance; deep learning; dilated cardiomyopathy; late gadolinium enhancement.

Publication types

  • Review