Last week, Dreamit HealthTech alum Eko announced a partnership with Mayo Clinic in which the two organizations will collaborate to create a product that detects low ejection fraction (a weak heart pump). The product will combine Eko’s digital stethoscope with a machine learning algorithm to replace echocardiograms, the expensive test commonly used to identify low ejection fraction.

Eko will receive access to Mayo Clinic’s cardiovascular database to develop the product. Once completed, the two organizations will test the new system in clinical trials and then look to gain FDA clearance for it.

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“It’s a privilege to collaborate with Mayo Clinic on this technology that can assist physicians with their patients’ cardiovascular care,” said Eko CEO Connor Landgraf. “By co-developing this technology, we can combine the knowledge of millions of ECGs and healthcare screenings to get an almost instantaneous snapshot of a patient’s heart.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 610,000 people die from heart disease every year. A report from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association determined that cardiovascular disease contributed $555B to U.S. healthcare costs in 2016. Projections from the same report estimate that the cost of treating and managing cardiovascular disease will rise to $1.1T by 2035.

Eko’s existing products, such as the CORE digital stethoscope and the DUO digital stethoscope and ECG, help health systems and other providers remotely monitor patients’ cardiovascular health. The new algorithm from Eko and Mayo Clinic will begin to empower any provider, not just cardiologists, to administer effective cardiac care.

“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,” said Paul Friedman, M.D., Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. “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 by putting a stethoscope on a person’s chest for a few seconds.”

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