Sudden death: how data collection helped prevent the risk

Romain Rouillard
modified to

5:31 p.m., January 04, 2023


It is a disturbing and random phenomenon that can affect almost any individual on Earth. Sudden death, which results in a soaring heart rate and a lack of irrigation of the brain, leads to death in more than nine out of ten cases. Asked about Europe 1 this Wednesday, Xavier Jouven, cardiologist at the European Georges-Pompidou Hospital in Paris and founder of the Sudden Death Expertise Center, who has been working for 30 years on the prevention of these brutal heart failurepresented the progress of his research.

A sample of 7,000 people, 20,000 diagnoses analyzed

Surrounded by a team of engineers and mathematicians, he embarked on “real painstaking work” at a time when “people did not believe that we could identify people at risk of sudden death”. For 25 years, Xavier Jouven peeled mountains of data, collected on a sample of just over 7,000 people.

A feat made possible by the creation, ten years ago, of the Sudden Death Expertise Center which has made it possible to identify the 4,000 cases that occur each year in Paris and in the inner suburbs. “We asked permission to health insurancewho agreed to collect, for each of the cases of cardiac arrest that were identified in Paris, all the data from the national health data system”, develops the cardiologist.

In this way, the research team was able to access the entire medical history of the individuals in question. “Everything they had consumed as medicine, all their examinations, their diagnoses during the 10-15 years before the occurrence of death”, specifies Xavier Jouven who, by this means, managed to count “20 million diagnoses” . An artificial intelligence was even asked to analyze this data.

Nevertheless, the professor warns: “If we think that artificial intelligence is the magic thing, we are wrong. What is the most difficult is to prepare unstructured data to be analyzed by this artificial intelligence” .

No overall risk factors

A titanic work which made it possible to “predict which individuals have more than 90% risk of sudden death in the year”. Nevertheless, it is still impossible to draw up a list of factors that can favor the appearance of the phenomenon. “Each individual has their personal history and their personal risk equation. This means that, for each individual, it will be different factors”, explains Xavier Jouven.

Convincing results that push the cardiologist to project himself. “In the next stage, we would like to do individualized prevention. That is to say, we will remove the person’s first risk factor, then his second, his third etc… But all this must still be proven because, for the moment, we have shown the association but we have not yet proven causality”, he tempers. If the group of researchers succeeded in their aims, screening campaigns, based on digital data of health, could then see the light of day.

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Sudden death: how data collection helped prevent the risk

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