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In PloS one ; h5-index 176.0

INTRODUCTION : Identifying COVID-19 patients that are most likely to progress to a severe infection is crucial for optimizing care management and increasing the likelihood of survival. This study presents a machine learning model that predicts severe cases of COVID-19, defined as the presence of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and highlights the different risk factors that play a significant role in disease progression.

METHODS : A cohort composed of 289,351 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020 was created using US administrative claims data from Oct 2015 to Jul 2020. For each patient, information about 817 diagnoses, were collected from the medical history ahead of COVID-19 infection. The primary outcome of the study was the presence of ARDS in the 4 months following COVID-19 infection. The study cohort was randomly split into training set used for model development, test set for model evaluation and validation set for real-world performance estimation.

RESULTS : We analyzed three machine learning classifiers to predict the presence of ARDS. Among the algorithms considered, a Gradient Boosting Decision Tree had the highest performance with an AUC of 0.695 (95% CI, 0.679-0.709) and an AUPRC of 0.0730 (95% CI, 0.0676 - 0.0823), showing a 40% performance increase in performance against a baseline classifier. A panel of five clinicians was also used to compare the predictive ability of the model to that of clinical experts. The comparison indicated that our model is on par or outperforms predictions made by the clinicians, both in terms of precision and recall.

CONCLUSION : This study presents a machine learning model that uses patient claims history to predict ARDS. The risk factors used by the model to perform its predictions have been extensively linked to the severity of the COVID-19 in the specialized literature. The most contributing diagnosis can be easily retrieved in the patient clinical history and can be used for an early screening of infected patients. Overall, the proposed model could be a promising tool to deploy in a healthcare setting to facilitate and optimize the care of COVID-19 patients.

Lazzarini Nicola, Filippoupolitis Avgoustinos, Manzione Pedro, Eleftherohorinou Hariklia