Developing a stroke alert trigger for clinical decision support at emergency triage using machine learning

Sheng Feng Sung, Ling Chien Hung, Ya Han Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Acute stroke is an urgent medical condition that requires immediate assessment and treatment. Prompt identification of patients with suspected stroke at emergency department (ED) triage followed by timely activation of code stroke systems is the key to successful management of stroke. While false negative detection of stroke may prevent patients from receiving optimal treatment, excessive false positive alarms will substantially burden stroke neurologists. This study aimed to develop a stroke-alert trigger to identify patients with suspected stroke at ED triage. Methods: Patients who arrived at the ED within 12 h of symptom onset and were suspected of a stroke or transient ischemic attack or triaged with a stroke-related symptom were included. Clinical features at ED triage were collected, including the presenting complaint, triage level, self-reported medical history (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart disease, and prior stroke), vital signs, and presence of atrial fibrillation. Three rule-based algorithms, ie, Face Arm Speech Test (FAST) and two flavors of Balance, Eyes, FAST (BE-FAST), and six machine learning (ML) techniques with various resampling methods were used to build classifiers for identification of patients with suspected stroke. Logistic regression (LR) was used to find important features. Results: The study population consisted of 1361 patients. The values of area under the precision-recall curve (AUPRC) were 0.737, 0.710, and 0.562 for the FAST, BE-FAST-1, and BE-FAST-2 models, respectively. The values of AUPRC for the top three ML models were 0.787 for classification and regression tree with undersampling, 0.783 for LR with synthetic minority oversampling technique (SMOTE), and 0.782 for LR with class weighting. Among the ML models, logistic regression and random forest models in general achieved higher values of AUPRC, in particular in those with class weighting or SMOTE to handle class imbalance problem. In addition to the presenting complaint and triage level, age, diastolic blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse rate, were also important features for developing a stroke-alert trigger. Conclusions: ML techniques significantly improved the performance of prediction models for identification of patients with suspected stroke. Such ML models can be embedded in the electronic triage system for clinical decision support at ED triage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104505
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Volume152
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Acute stroke
  • Clinical decision support
  • Emergency department
  • Triage

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