Dec 7, 2022 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Researchers Report a Breakthrough in Ultrasound Imaging Technique for Early Detection of Heart Disease

Artificial Intelligence Now Trained to Detect Pixel Patterns in Ultrasound Images

Partho Sengupta, MD, FACC, and Naveena Yanamala, PhD

(New Brunswick, NJ) - Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (Rutgers RWJMS) and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) have reported a new breakthrough in ultrasonic imaging methods that can detect microscopic changes in heart structure and function, which may be useful for screening early heart disease using miniaturized ultrasound devices that can be carried in the pocket.

In a paper published in the December 2022 edition of the Journals of the American College of Cardiology, Partho Sengupta, MD, FACC, and Naveena Yanamala, PhD, reveal how they used artificial intelligence (AI) modeling techniques to compile and analyze pixel-based patterns in echocardiogram images of humans to develop expert-level interpretation of cardiac conditions that lead to heart failure. They then used a mouse model of heart failure and discovered that these patterns arise from microscopic changes in heart muscle geometry.

Dr. Sengupta is the Henry Rutgers Professor of Cardiology and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension at RWJMS, and Chief of Cardiology at RWJUH, and is a member of the Combined Medical Group of RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Health. Dr. Yanamala is Director of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension, Rutgers RWJMS, and the Director of RWJUH’s Innovation Center.

Through their analysis, the researchers were able to establish new biological markers, or indicators, for cardiovascular disease, that can help clinicians detect cardiac issues earlier and give them important information they need to plan the appropriate treatment.

“By establishing and analyzing patterns of pixels obtained from the sample echocardiogram images, we were able to predict presence of heart conditions that can cause heart failure,” Dr. Sengupta explained. “Identifying changes in the heart muscle or cardiovascular function earlier can lead to more proactive interventions and the prevention of serious complications.”

According to Dr. Sengupta, this biomarker can be applied to any current cardiac ultrasound device, including advanced, miniature hand-held point of care ultrasound technology. Essentially, the data is like obtaining an ultrasonic biopsy of the heart tissue, he said.

“This has the potential to give more people access to in-depth, expert analysis in a broad range of settings, leading to faster intervention and prevention of serious cardiac disease,” Dr. Sengupta noted.

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Earlier this year, RWJUH established the Center for Innovation. The Center for Innovation is a partnership between RWJUH and RWJMS to bring together clinicians, researchers and private industry to invent and develop new technologies that address both complex and common health care issues. The ultimate goal is to develop innovative clinical trials that yield medical breakthroughs to improve preventive care and health outcomes for patients.

Dr. Sengupta said this research aligns perfectly with the Center’s mission, adding that Rutgers RWJMS and RWJUH currently have a National Science Foundation research grant to create and sustain an “innovation pipeline” leading to more discoveries like this.

“Our goal is to make New Jersey a cornerstone and model for the early detection of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Sengupta said.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), a 614-bed RWJBarnabas Health Facility, is New Jersey’s largest academic medical center through its deep partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. RWJUH is the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and its other Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and women’s and children’s care featuring The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital ( A Level 1 Trauma Center and the first designated Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness. Learn more at

About Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
As one of the nation’s leading comprehensive medical schools, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. Part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School encompasses 20 basic science and clinical departments, and hosts centers and institutes including The Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey, and the Women's Health Institute. The medical school has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 100 medical schools in the nation and No. 1 in the state for research and primary care.

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility and the medical school's principal affiliate, comprise one of the nation's premier academic medical centers. Clinical services are provided by more than 500 faculty physicians in 200+ specialties and subspecialties as part of Rutgers Health, the clinical arm of Rutgers University.

The medical school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels on its campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway, and provides continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs. To learn more about Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, visit

Contact: Peter Haigney, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Public Relations
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