Machine learning techniques for mortality prediction in emergency departments: a systematic review

Amin Naemi*, Thomas Schmidt, Marjan Mansourvar, Mohammad Naghavi-Behzad, Ali Ebrahimi, Uffe Kock Wiil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to assess the performance and clinical feasibility of machine learning (ML) algorithms in prediction of in-hospital mortality for medical patients using vital signs at emergency departments (EDs).

DESIGN: A systematic review was performed.

SETTING: The databases including Medline (PubMed), Scopus and Embase (Ovid) were searched between 2010 and 2021, to extract published articles in English, describing ML-based models utilising vital sign variables to predict in-hospital mortality for patients admitted at EDs. Critical appraisal and data extraction for systematic reviews of prediction modelling studies checklist was used for study planning and data extraction. The risk of bias for included papers was assessed using the prediction risk of bias assessment tool.

PARTICIPANTS: Admitted patients to the ED.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: In-hospital mortality.

RESULTS: Fifteen articles were included in the final review. We found that eight models including logistic regression, decision tree, K-nearest neighbours, support vector machine, gradient boosting, random forest, artificial neural networks and deep neural networks have been applied in this domain. Most studies failed to report essential main analysis steps such as data preprocessing and handling missing values. Fourteen included studies had a high risk of bias in the statistical analysis part, which could lead to poor performance in practice. Although the main aim of all studies was developing a predictive model for mortality, nine articles did not provide a time horizon for the prediction.

CONCLUSION: This review provided an updated overview of the state-of-the-art and revealed research gaps; based on these, we provide eight recommendations for future studies to make the use of ML more feasible in practice. By following these recommendations, we expect to see more robust ML models applied in the future to help clinicians identify patient deterioration earlier.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere052663
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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