News Article: AI Meets Heart Health

News Article: AI Meets Heart Health

Artificial intelligence may make plenty of people nervous, but a Dublin-based company is using it to save lives. 

DASI Simulations is a biomedical tech company specializing in creating simulations for heart valve procedures, particularly TAVR  (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedures.. 

In simple terms, they use CT scans to create personalized interactive 3D models of a patient's heart. Then, their AI algorithm helps determine the ideal valve type, size, and placement within the aorta to improve outcomes, reduce complications, and minimize risks.

And outcomes are indeed improving. 

The company worked with The Ohio State University on a study that revealed many patients in palliative care can safely benefit from their technology.

In the study, researchers examined 28 patients who underwent TAVR procedures. They used computer models to assess the likelihood of artery blockage. Patients with narrower arteries or valve spaces were at higher risk. 

In short, it was shown that using these models could enhance the safety of TAVR, particularly for patients with small arteries or narrow valve spaces.

“When a patient goes to palliative care for severe aortic stenosis, which our patients have, their two-year mortality rate's about 50%, “ said Sean McKibben, DASI Simulations COO. “That would be worse than most cancer diagnoses. In the study, there was a disproportionate number of patients able to have procedures and successfully able to continue to live.”

Aortic stenosis is a heart problem where the valve between the heart and the body's main artery gets narrow, making it harder for blood to flow out of the heart. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and tiredness. Treatment might involve surgery to replace the valve.

McKibben shared a story about a facility in Texas that reached out to DASI as a last resort because a woman in her 70s had aortic stenosis, and her prognosis was very poor. Using DASI’s technology, the woman had a life-saving procedure, and now all signs point to her having a longer, healthier life. 

Lakshmi “Prasad” Dasi, Ph.D., the company’s co-founder & co-CEO, said, “The technology will help reduce healthcare costs because it makes decision-making so easy for the physicians that they can personalize the treatment and patients are going to have better outcomes and hospitals are going to eliminate those costs that are associated with complications.”

With more than 1,000 cases and 80 hospitals now using DASI’s tech, doctors are starting to talk to each other about the experience. 

“We've been extremely fortunate in that the physicians that have been utilizing the technology become an organic sales force for us by word of mouth,” said Teri Sirset, the company’s co-founder & co-CEO.

But before they saved lives and got doctors talking, there was an “enchanted moment” where the two co-founders, Teri Sirset and Dasi, first met. 

At the time, Dr. Dasi was an associate professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at Ohio State’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. Teri Sirset first encountered him at a conference in California in September 2018 while working for another startup company in the same space. 

“Prasad was passing by me with his students, who had Ohio State backpacks and whatnot, and we were in San Diego,” she said. “I was extremely thrilled to see what I called ‘my people,’ my people from Ohio State, and I kind of ran up to him.”

She convinced him to see her company’s offerings, which she believed would be an asset for his work at Ohio State. He agreed.

Before long, Teri Sirset’s company became a vendor for the university. 

“He purchased the products and utilized the technology to implement his AI technology and further develop it in his lab at Ohio State,” she said. 

But there’s another layer: Her father passed away in 2006 from complications of stenosis, leading to care in this arena becoming very important to her. 

“I feel as though we were put together for a reason— so that Prasad's technology will be able to be utilized eventually as a standard of care so that maybe there are patients and families out there who don't have to experience what my family experienced,” she said. 

The two eventually decided to form their own company: DASI Simulations. But Dr. Dasi was hesitant to give it his name. Humble, he asked the team to turn DASI into an acronym: Direct Analytical Surgical Individualization.

The company settled in Dublin because Dr. Dasi lived in the city and used his home address in the original incorporation paperwork. As more members joined the team, they settled in Rev1 Ventures, a co-working space in Columbus. But they outgrew it and eventually boomeranged back to the Emerald City. 

Teagan Sirset, DASI’s manager of marketing & media services, said Dublin is a good fit for the company because the city is evolving into a startup hub. It’s also rich in opportunities for young professionals looking to grow their careers. 

McKibben said city officials have been very open to partnering. 

“They've been very open to funding opportunities as well,” he said. “And we continue to remain in touch with them as we grow our workforce. Now we have over 25 colleagues located in our Dublin offices and growing.”

On their end, Dublin officials are proud that DASI has called their city home. 

“Their path to success that started in Rev1 on Kinnear Road and moved to Dublin is a great example of how the partnership between the City and Rev1 works to support entrepreneurs and early-stage companies,” says City of Dublin Economic Development Administrator Jenna Goehring. “DASI is an essential part of the city’s medical biosciences and health care industry cluster. The work they do is innovative and life-changing for patients around the world.”

Colleagues have moved from California, Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia to join the company’s ranks.  

“So it's just not people moving from Cleveland or Cincinnati,” McKibben said. “One piece of feedback that we've had from our colleagues is they're not joining a company, they're joining a family. And that's the atmosphere. People are valued, they're cared about, and they're provided an enormous amount of opportunity for their professional career.”

The staff at DASI Simulations is not the only thing expanding; they’re also looking to grow their pool of investors.

“Within the last year or so, we've received two FDA clearances and CMS insurance reimbursement,” said Teri Sirset. “So if you're an investor and you're looking to invest in a company that has incredibly disruptive technology that sits right at the intersection of AI, personalized medicine, digital healthcare, and life-saving, life-changing technology, we've already taken great measures to de-risk that particular piece.”

As DASI Simulations continues to expand its reach, it's not just about saving lives—it's about shaping the future of healthcare, one heartbeat at a time.

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