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Heart Disease Program

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Project Information

Group: Clinical Decision Making Group
Project Leader: Bill Long (
Purpose: To assist physicians in the diagnosis of patients with cardiac symptoms, focusing on hemodynamic dysfunction.
Description: The Heart Disease Program is a computer system to act as an intellectual sounding board, assisting the physician in the task of differential diagnosis and anticipating the effects of therapy in the domain of cardiovascular disorders. To address these problems we have developed two significant methodologies for medical reasoning. For diagnosis we have responded to the challenges of this very rich domain with a diagnostic mechanism that combines probabilistic reasoning in a Bayesian network with the constraints imposed by the severities of the states and the temporal relations of causality. This allows the Heart Disease Program (HDP) to generate differential diagnoses that are consistent with respect to the known conditions of causality in the medical domain. The hypotheses that make up the differential are causal networks representing the likely mechanisms causing and complicating the hemodynamic dysfunctions at a clinical level of detail. Most of this web focuses on the diagnostic program.

For predicting the effects of therapy we have developed a mechanism that uses equations for the hemodynamic relationships and a signal flow technique to calculate the likely quantitative steady-state change for all parameters given changes in therapies (or other parameter changes). This mechanism effectively captures the hemodynamic effects of the therapies on which it has been tested for a variety of pathophysiologic conditions.

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