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In IEEE journal of biomedical and health informatics

The aim of this study is to develop an explainable late-onset sepsis (LOS) prediction algorithm based on continuously measured multi-channel physiological signals that can be applied to a bedside patient monitor for preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The study highlights the complementary predictive value of motion information for LOS prediction when combined with cardiorespiratory information. The algorithm uses features that contain information on heart rate variability (HRV), respiration, and motion, based on continuously measured physiological waveforms including electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest impedance (CI). In this study, 127 preterm infants were included, of whom 59 were blood-culture-proven LOS patients and 68 were control patients. Features in 24 hours before the onset of sepsis (for the LOS group), and an age-matched onset time point (for the control group) were extracted and fed into machine learning classifiers together with gestational age (GA) and birth weight. We compared the prediction performance of several well-known classifiers using features extracted from different signal channels (HRV, respiration, and motion) individually as well as their combinations. The prediction performance was evaluated using the area under the receiver-operating-characteristics curve (AUC). The best performance for LOS prediction was achieved by an XGB classifier combining features from all signal channels, with an AUC of 0.88, a positive predictive value of 0.80, and a negative predictive value of 0.83 during the 6 hours preceding LOS onset. This feasibility study demonstrates the complementary predictive value of motion information in addition to cardiorespiratory information for LOS prediction. Furthermore, visualization of how each feature measured in the individual patient impacts the algorithm decision can strengthen its interpretability. In clinical practice, it is important that clinical interventions are motivated and this visualization method can help to support the clinical decision.

Peng Zheng, Varisco Gabriele, Long Xi, Liang Rong-Hao, Kommers Deedee, Cottaar Ward, Andriessen Peter, van Pul Carola