AI to pick suitable organs for transplants; help surgeons perform 300 more operations a year
Every year, hundreds of organ transplants around the world fail due to unsuccessful operations. At times, this is due to a faulty assessment of the donor organ by medical staff. To remedy this, British researchers have come up with a new Artificial Intelligence powered tool that can help boost the quality of donor organs. The new tool, which has been described by the Guardian as "pioneering," uses AI to score potential organs. The AI-based tool called OrQA or Organ Quality Assessment does this by comparing them to images of tens of thousands of other organs previously used in transplants.
This too can potentially help surgeons in the UK perform an additional 300 transplants every year.
Currently, medical professionals rely on their own assessment of the feasibility of a donor organ. This assessment, at times, goes wrong. In some scenarios, wrongly picked organs mean unsuccessful operations, in others it means that useful organs get disregarded.
Prof Hassan Ugail, director of the centre for visual computing at the University of Bradford, who along with his team is refining the AI's ability to analyse images explained, "Currently when an organ becomes available, it is assessed by a surgical team by sight."
This, as per him, "means, occasionally, organs will be deemed not suitable for transplant."
He further elaborated that OrQA will be used to assess images of donor organs in a more effective manner than "what the human eye can see."
OrQA will do this by looking for damage and pre-existing conditions in the organs. It will also monitor how well blood has been flushed out of the donor organ. To use the tool, surgeons will just have to upload a picture of the donated organ and the tool will guide them on how best to use it.