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In BMC medical informatics and decision making ; h5-index 38.0

BACKGROUND : Early and accurate identification of sepsis patients with high risk of in-hospital death can help physicians in intensive care units (ICUs) make optimal clinical decisions. This study aimed to develop machine learning-based tools to predict the risk of hospital death of patients with sepsis in ICUs.

METHODS : The source database used for model development and validation is the medical information mart for intensive care (MIMIC) III. We identified adult sepsis patients using the new sepsis definition Sepsis-3. A total of 86 predictor variables consisting of demographics, laboratory tests and comorbidities were used. We employed the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO), random forest (RF), gradient boosting machine (GBM) and the traditional logistic regression (LR) method to develop prediction models. In addition, the prediction performance of the four developed models was evaluated and compared with that of an existent scoring tool - simplified acute physiology score (SAPS) II - using five different performance measures: the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC), Brier score, sensitivity, specificity and calibration plot.

RESULTS : The records of 16,688 sepsis patients in MIMIC III were used for model training and test. Amongst them, 2949 (17.7%) patients had in-hospital death. The average AUROCs of the LASSO, RF, GBM, LR and SAPS II models were 0.829, 0.829, 0.845, 0.833 and 0.77, respectively. The Brier scores of the LASSO, RF, GBM, LR and SAPS II models were 0.108, 0.109, 0.104, 0.107 and 0.146, respectively. The calibration plots showed that the GBM, LASSO and LR models had good calibration; the RF model underestimated high-risk patients; and SAPS II had the poorest calibration.

CONCLUSION : The machine learning-based models developed in this study had good prediction performance. Amongst them, the GBM model showed the best performance in predicting the risk of in-hospital death. It has the potential to assist physicians in the ICU to perform appropriate clinical interventions for critically ill sepsis patients and thus may help improve the prognoses of sepsis patients in the ICU.

Kong Guilan, Lin Ke, Hu Yonghua


In-hospital mortality, Intensive care unit, Machine learning, Prediction model, Sepsis