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AI-Enabled Tool Rapidly Assesses Abnormal Lung Conditions from Ultrasound Images at POC

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 06 Apr 2023
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Image: The groundbreaking AI-enabled Auto B-line Counter has received US FDA 510(k) clearance (Photo courtesy of Butterfly Network)
Image: The groundbreaking AI-enabled Auto B-line Counter has received US FDA 510(k) clearance (Photo courtesy of Butterfly Network)

Ultrasound scans show B-lines as vivid vertical lines that indicate the presence of moisture in the lungs, indicating pulmonary air-space diseases such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and COVID-19. The traditional method of manually and subjectively counting of B-lines frequently leads to inconsistent interpretations. Now, a groundbreaking AI-enabled Auto B-line Counter can now simplify the assessment of adults suspected of having reduced lung function by healthcare professionals, allowing them to make informed treatment decisions swiftly at the point of care.

Butterfly Network, Inc.’s (Burlington, MA, USA) Auto B-line Counter uses advanced deep learning technology to generate a B-line count from a six-second ultrasound clip. The Auto B-line Counter algorithm employs the cutting-edge instant percent counting method, which assigns numbers to confluent B-lines based on the percentage of rib space they occupy. It also counts individual B-lines, making this approach more dependable than the conventional method of counting individual lines.

Using the Auto B-line Counter, trained providers can easily position the probe and obtain a dependable numerical count directly on their screen. To create and train its AI algorithms, Butterfly Network employs its secure Butterfly Cloud, which enables access to over 3.5 million ultrasound cines that have been de-identified. These data inputs are gathered from hundreds of locations across all 50 states of the United States, providing the potential for a diverse and extensive range of ages, genders, body mass indices, ethnicities, and races.

"Our goal at Butterfly is to give healthcare practitioners, and eventually consumers, a real time full color, annotated, window into the human body. Applying AI to make ultrasound easier to use is core to Butterfly, and will enable powerful ultrasound to be in the palm of more clinician's hands, across specialities, to monitor, assess, and prescribe treatments in a more informed way," said Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, Butterfly Network’s Founder and Interim Chief Executive Officer. "Our AI-enabled Auto B-line Counter empowers providers to assess lung conditions faster and with more confidence – and in turn, will aid in earlier detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, a leading cause of death globally, taking nearly 18 million lives each year."

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