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Mayo Clinic, Eko pair up on machine learning tech to screen for heart diseases


Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic and Berkeley, California-based Eko, a company that created a heart and lung monitoring platform, have teamed up to develop a technology that helps physicians screen patients for potentially dangerous heart diseases.

The tool relies on a smart digital stethoscope as well as machine learning. The organizations will cooperate to commercialize an ML algorithm that can screen for a low ejection fraction.

Additionally, the tech harnesses capabilities of both organizations. It uses Mayo Clinic’s cardiovascular database and expertise in heart disease screening combined with Eko’s cardiac monitoring platform.

The duo intends to put the technology through clinical studies before seeking FDA approval for it.

“With this collaboration, we hope to transform the stethoscope in the pocket of every physician and nurse from a hand tool to a power tool,” Dr. Paul Friedman, Mayo Clinic’s chair of cardiovascular medicine, said in a statement. “The community practitioner performing high school sports physicals and the surgeon about to operate may be able to seamlessly tap the knowledge of an experienced cardiologist to determine if a weak heart pump is present simply but putting a stethoscope on a person’s chest for a few seconds.”

Earlier this year, Eko wrapped up a $5 million Series A round. The company planned to use the money to build on its commercial team and support studies on the use of Eko’s platform for heart disease screening and heart failure monitoring. ARTIS Ventures led the round, while Strategic Partners, Dreamit Ventures, 1812 Ventures and FOUNDER.org participated.

In 2017, Eko secured FDA clearance to market DUO, a combined digital stethoscope and ECG.

Photo: BrianAJackson, Getty Images

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