GE HealthCare has signed an agreement to acquire US-based medical technology manufacturer Caption Health, for an undisclosed sum.

Caption Health is a healthcare company developing clinical applications that support early disease detection using AI-powered ultrasound scans.

The company has a strong development pipeline of AI software, including advanced ultrasound technology for use in pulmonary applications.

Upon closing of the acquisition, Caption Health will continue to offer management and administrative services to affiliated medical services providers.

The company will be integrated into GE HealthCare’s wider digital ecosystem, and will be led by GE HealthCare Ultrasound chief digital officer Karley Yoder.

GE HealthCare intends to fund the acquisition, which is subject to certain customary closing conditions, with available cash on hand.

GE HealthCare ultrasound president and CEO Roland Rott said: “Guiding ultrasound users during examinations with the help of AI is of growing importance, especially as we reach a broader set of healthcare professionals.

“Caption Health’s AI applications help enable reliable, consistent ultrasound examinations to deliver more precise diagnoses, improved treatment decision-making, and ultimately improved patient outcomes.

“This tuck-in acquisition will help expand affordable access to ultrasound imaging to novice users and is aligned with a broader shift to precision care globally.”

According to GE, heart ultrasound examinations help identify heart failure, which is the most common diagnosis in the US for hospitalised patients over the age of 65.

It contributes to millions of deaths globally every year, but early symptoms like fatigue or shortness of breath are commonly confused for normal signs of aging.

According to a study, 38% of new heart failure patients are diagnosed in acute care facilities, even though 46% of these patients had potential symptoms six months before diagnosis.

Caption Health’s AI applications is said to help healthcare professionals easily and rapidly conduct basic echocardiogram exams and ultrasound examinations.

The technology help detect signs of diseases like heart failure in at-risk patients, to prevent potential hospitalisation and support improved clinical outcomes.

Caption Health CEO Steve Cashman said: “We are incredibly proud of the technology we have built and together with GE HealthCare, look forward to bringing this technology to more patients across the globe.

“Combining our AI applications with GE HealthCare’s ultrasound devices will help accelerate our mission to detect disease earlier, when an easily obtained diagnostic image can be a great equalizer to health quality and outcomes.”