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In BMC emergency medicine

BACKGROUND : Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, causing almost one fifth of all deaths worldwide. The aim of the current study was to identify variables predictive of 7- and 30-day mortality among variables reflective of the presentation of septic patients arriving to the emergency department (ED) using machine learning.

METHODS : Retrospective cross-sectional design, including all patients arriving to the ED at Södersjukhuset in Sweden during 2013 and discharged with an International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 code corresponding to sepsis. All predictions were made using a Balanced Random Forest Classifier and 91 variables reflecting ED presentation. An exhaustive search was used to remove unnecessary variables in the final model. A 10-fold cross validation was performed and the accuracy was described using the mean value of the following: AUC, sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, positive LR and negative LR.

RESULTS : The study population included 445 septic patients, randomised to a training (n = 356, 80%) and a validation set (n = 89, 20%). The six most important variables for predicting 7-day mortality were: "fever", "abnormal verbal response", "low saturation", "arrival by emergency medical services (EMS)", "abnormal behaviour or level of consciousness" and "chills". The model including these variables had an AUC of 0.83 (95% CI: 0.80-0.86). The final model predicting 30-day mortality used similar six variables, however, including "breathing difficulties" instead of "abnormal behaviour or level of consciousness". This model achieved an AUC = 0.80 (CI 95%, 0.78-0.82).

CONCLUSIONS : The results suggest that six specific variables were predictive of 7- and 30-day mortality with good accuracy which suggests that these symptoms, observations and mode of arrival may be important components to include along with vital signs in a future prediction tool of mortality among septic patients presenting to the ED. In addition, the Random Forests appears to be a suitable machine learning method on which to build future studies.

Karlsson Adam, Stassen Willem, Loutfi Amy, Wallgren Ulrika, Larsson Eric, Kurland Lisa

2021-Jul-12

Assessment, Clinical assessment, Emergency care systems, Emergency department, Infectious diseases