Stroke-detecting app could save lives, study suggests

An app has been released that could detect stroke symptoms in life-saving time – medical researchers say its accuracy looks promising, while suggesting that more assessment is needed.

FAST.AI is being touted as an app that can determine if somebody is having a stroke – said by Statista to be the cause of 6.5 million deaths worldwide in 2019 – in “real-time,” which could have potentially life-saving benefits.

Researchers are saying it may even be as accurate as a human neurologist, ahead of the app’s presentation at the International Stroke Conference 2023, due to be hosted by the American Stroke Association between February 8 and 10 in Dallas, Texas.

The application, designed by Neoronics Medical, works by tracking classic symptoms of a stroke, such as an arm weakness, facial changes, and changes in speech. It does this by monitoring 68 points on the human face with video technology while employing sensors to check movement and word formulation.

Scientists testing the app’s use on 270 patients within three days of being admitted to the hospital found that its detection rate for facial asymmetry was near-perfect – almost 100% were registered as having such symptoms associated with the illness.

However, they say the voice-tracking component has yet to be fully verified – although preliminary analysis indicates its capacity to track the slurred pronunciation commonly associated with stroke looks promising.

"Many stroke patients don’t make it to the hospital in time for clot-busting treatment, which is one reason why it is vital to recognize stroke symptoms and call 911 right away," said the study’s author Radoslav Raychev, a clinical professor of neurology and vascular neurologist at the University of California.

He added: "These early results confirm the app reliably identified acute stroke symptoms as accurately as a neurologist, and they will help to improve the app’s accuracy in detecting signs and symptoms of stroke.”

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