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Nelson: Calgary doctor pushes AI boundaries in heart disease

‘I could keep doing the same thing to try and help these people, but they were falling through the cracks. There must be a better way to provide care’

This is just the latest in a growing number of high-tech ventures the company is involved in since its inception in 2018 by Calgary cardiologist Anmol Kapoor.

Today, the company employs about 150 experts in a host of medical and technology disciplines across Canada, with the use of AI to detect heart disease being the latest technological advancement.
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“My dream was always to combine technology into medicine,” said Kapoor.

“You have to push boundaries but innovation cannot happen in the comfort zone. You have to be uncomfortable to innovate.”

His decision to found CardiAI came from watching one of his patients suffering from a serious heart problem.

“He was struggling and could not even come to my office because he had such difficulty in breathing. Then he called and said: ‘I know you are trying to save me, but I’m only a burden on my family and the system. Please let me go.’”

CardiAI’s heart work was one of the many pilot projects supported by the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), which receives both provincial and federal funding and is based out of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

“Amii started as a centre at the U of A 20 years ago thanks to investment by the province,” said CEO Cam Linke. “At the time, we were able to trap some of the top minds in the world in machine learning, an area which has now grown to become one of the most important technologies underlying so many industries in the world.”

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