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Derivation of an electronic frailty index for short-term mortality in heart failure: a machine learning approach

By Chengsheng Ju, Jiandong Zhou, Sharen Lee, Martin Sebastian Tan, Ying Liu, Yuhui Zhang, Tong Liu, Esther WY Chan, Ian Chi Kei Wong, Li Wei, Qingpeng Zhang, Gary Tse

Posted 02 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.26.20248867

ObjectiveFrailty may be found in heart failure patients especially in the elderly and is associated with a poor prognosis. However, assessment of frailty status is time-consuming and the electronic frailty indices developed using health records have served as useful surrogates. We hypothesized that an electronic frailty index developed using machine learning can improve short-term mortality prediction in patients with heart failure. MethodsThis was a retrospective observational study included patients admitted to nine public hospitals for heart failure from Hong Kong between 2013 and 2017. Age, sex, variables in the modified frailty index, Deyos Charlson comorbidity index ([≥]2), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and prognostic nutritional index (PNI) were analyzed. Gradient boosting, which is a supervised sequential ensemble learning algorithm with weak prediction submodels (typically decision trees), was applied to predict mortality. Comparisons were made with decision tree and multivariate logistic regression. ResultsA total of 8893 patients (median: age 81, Q1-Q3: 71-87 years old) were included, in whom 9% had 30-day mortality and 17% had 90-day mortality. PNI, age and NLR were the most important variables predicting 30-day mortality (importance score: 37.4, 32.1, 20.5, respectively) and 90-day mortality (importance score: 35.3, 36.3, 14.6, respectively). Gradient boosting significantly outperformed decision tree and multivariate logistic regression (area under the curve: 0.90, 0.86 and 0.86 for 30-day mortality; 0.92, 0.89 and 0.86 for 90-day mortality). ConclusionsThe electronic frailty index based on comorbidities, inflammation and nutrition information can readily predict mortality outcomes. Their predictive performances were significantly improved by gradient boosting techniques.

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