The health digital twin to tackle cardiovascular disease-a review of an emerging interdisciplinary field

Genevieve Coorey*, Gemma A Figtree, David F Fletcher, Victoria J Snelson, Stephen Thomas Vernon, David Winlaw, Stuart M Grieve, Alistair McEwan, Jean Yee Hwa Yang, Pierre Qian, Kieran O'Brien, Jessica Orchard, Jinman Kim, Sanjay Patel, Julie Redfern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Potential benefits of precision medicine in cardiovascular disease (CVD) include more accurate phenotyping of individual patients with the same condition or presentation, using multiple clinical, imaging, molecular and other variables to guide diagnosis and treatment. An approach to realising this potential is the digital twin concept, whereby a virtual representation of a patient is constructed and receives real-time updates of a range of data variables in order to predict disease and optimise treatment selection for the real-life patient. We explored the term digital twin, its defining concepts, the challenges as an emerging field, and potentially important applications in CVD. A mapping review was undertaken using a systematic search of peer-reviewed literature. Industry-based participants and patent applications were identified through web-based sources. Searches of Compendex, EMBASE, Medline, ProQuest and Scopus databases yielded 88 papers related to cardiovascular conditions (28%, n = 25), non-cardiovascular conditions (41%, n = 36), and general aspects of the health digital twin (31%, n = 27). Fifteen companies with a commercial interest in health digital twin or simulation modelling had products focused on CVD. The patent search identified 18 applications from 11 applicants, of which 73% were companies and 27% were universities. Three applicants had cardiac-related inventions. For CVD, digital twin research within industry and academia is recent, interdisciplinary, and established globally. Overall, the applications were numerical simulation models, although precursor models exist for the real-time cyber-physical system characteristic of a true digital twin. Implementation challenges include ethical constraints and clinical barriers to the adoption of decision tools derived from artificial intelligence systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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