Dasi Simulations Improves Heart Surgery Outcomes with Artificial Intelligence
More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with heart valve disease each year. Eventually, many of those patients will undergo structural surgery to replace the damaged valve.
Imagine if each of those patients could receive an artificial heart valve that is best suited to their unique anatomy through a pre-planned surgical procedure optimized for their blood flow and body condition, with predictive analysis to anticipate potential complications.
That’s the vision of Dasi Simulations, a medical technology startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology and machine learning to improve patient outcomes and save lives. “Our goal is to provide a new standard of cardiac care,” said Teri Sirset, Dasi Simulations CEO.
Surgical Treatment of Heart Valve Disease
For years, open-heart surgery was the only option for replacing a valve. With open-heart procedures, the surgical team can see inside the body. They can map the precise layout of arteries and view the exact topography of the heart. They can select the best replacement valve for the situation and position it precisely.
Open-heart surgery also carries substantial risk, including stress on the body, infection, and rehabilitation and recovery time.
Instead of open-heart surgery, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally invasive procedure, is becoming the standard of care for replacing heart valves. In TAVR, the physician accesses the heart with a small incision in the leg or groin, then feeds the catheter through a blood vessel, using advanced imaging to place a new replacement valve in the heart. In 2020, there were more than 100,000 TAVR procedures.
TAVR reduces the need for and the risks of open-heart surgery, but the procedure also carries risks of its own. TAVR has an estimated 20 to 30 percent complication rate and approximately $2 billion in complication costs. That’s where DASI’s technology comes in.
Reducing Complications Through Personalized Medicine
The pre-surgical process for valve replacement surgery goes right to the heart of personalized medicine. There are multiple valve manufacturers and designs, various sizes, and different procedural approaches. The best outcomes require surgeons with highly specialized skills and extensive experience in TAVR. A misdirected or misplaced valve can cause arterial obstruction or even death.
A HIPPA-compliant, cloud-based platform, DASI, an acronym for Direct Analytical Surgical Individualization, integrates into the existing heart team process seamlessly, creating a personalized solution for every patient. DASI engineers manage the process and validate the information before it is sent back to a physician.
“DASI utilizes the patient’s CT scans to model the patient’s unique anatomy and disease and then produces simulations of the procedure. The technology is intended to be easy for hospitals and physicians. These patient-specific simulations give surgeons concrete data to know what valve and what approach to use to cut down on potential complications,” Sirset said.
Shared Passion for Improving Patient Outcomes Leads to a Start Up
“I am doing things I never thought I would do,” Sirset said. “Fortunate circumstances led me to this.”
By fortunate circumstances, Sirset means meeting Dr. Lakshmi Prasad Dasi, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at The Ohio State University (OSU), at a trade show in 2018. Dr. Dasi and his team walked by the booth where Sirset was marketing mock vessels of the heart and aortic system. Dr. Dasi’s students wore OSU shirts and carried OSU backpacks.
“I am all things Buckeye,” said Sirset, whose daughter graduated OSU in 2018, “so I felt an immediate connection.” Sirset engaged Dr. Dasi, demonstrating how he could use her silicone models in his experiments.
Dr. Dasi had been using the silicone products in his lab for about a year when Sirset visited to understand better how the silicone models fit into his work. “He pulled up a raw PowerPoint of the technology he had developed using the vessels,” Siret said, “and then he asked, do you know anyone who might want to start a company with me?”
For Sirset, helping improve outcomes for patients with heart disease felt personal. “My father passed away at age 67 after two unsuccessful heart surgeries,” she said. “There was something inside of me wanting to do this. It was like my dad was standing over my shoulder giving me executive courage.”
Teri Sirset, who had more than 25 years of sales experience in the medical industry, and Dr. Dasi formed the business in 2019 with Sirset as Co-founder and CEO and Dr. Dasi as co-founder and CTO.
DASI Simulations currently has hospital beta tests at OSU-Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA. The company is in active discussions with several potential cohorts to increase clinical indications and validate the technology.
“Our goal is to enter into the market and demonstrate our value to physicians and centers with not only high complication rates but to offer the technology to all patients having TAVR Structural Heart surgery,” Sirset said. “We are also engaged in market development with insurance carriers. Ours is a service that can both improve patient outcomes and improve bottom lines.”