Lebanese Doctor In San Francisco Leads A Breakthrough In Detecting Fetal Heart Issues

UCSF | The Mercury News

Based in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Lebanese physician-scientist and board-certified practicing cardiologist Dr. Rima Arnaout first became interested in heart development while watching chick embryos in college.

“It struck me how vital heart structure and function are to life, even before birth,” she told UCSF Health. “Yet how could something so important also be most commonly affected by birth defects? It was a conundrum I wanted to learn more about.”

And she did.

As the Principal Investigator at the award-winning Arnaout Labs, Dr. Arnaout studies how “machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can reduce diagnostic errors in medical imaging and lead to new insights on cardiovascular disease,” according to UCSF Health.

Her valuable research is funded by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense (DoD), and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the nonprofit research organization founded by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg and his philanthropist wife Priscilla Chan, who is a former pediatrician.

Most recently, Dr. Arnaout’s lab and team made a medical breakthrough by developing a technique using AI to detect congenital heart disease in second-trimester ultrasounds with 96% accuracy.

Zuckerberg congratulated the effort, stating that current approaches to detecting fetal heart issues are as low as about 30%. Dr. Arnaout more than tripled that rate!

Dr. Arnaout graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in bioengineering. She earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School after which she completed a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Today at UCSF, Dr. Arnaout is a faculty member in the Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program, a member of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute, the Center for Intelligent Imaging.

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