29 October 2020
infant, newborn, neonatology, jaundice, neonatal, hyperbilirubinemia, neonatal, machine learning, supervised machine learning, data science, medical informatics, decision support techniques, models, statistical, predictive models
Hyperbilirubinemia affects many newborn infants and, if not treated appropriately, can lead to irreversible brain injury.
This study aims to develop predictive models of follow-up total serum bilirubin measurement and to compare their accuracy with that of clinician predictions.
Subjects were patients born between June 2015 and June 2019 at 4 hospitals in Massachusetts. The prediction target was a follow-up total serum bilirubin measurement obtained <72 hours after a previous measurement. Birth before versus after February 2019 was used to generate a training set (27,428 target measurements) and a held-out test set (3320 measurements), respectively. Multiple supervised learning models were trained. To further assess model performance, predictions on the held-out test set were also compared with corresponding predictions from clinicians.
The best predictive accuracy on the held-out test set was obtained with the multilayer perceptron (ie, neural network, mean absolute error [MAE] 1.05 mg/dL) and Xgboost (MAE 1.04 mg/dL) models. A limited number of predictors were sufficient for constructing models with the best performance and avoiding overfitting: current bilirubin measurement, last rate of rise, proportion of time under phototherapy, time to next measurement, gestational age at birth, current age, and fractional weight change from birth. Clinicians made a total of 210 prospective predictions. The neural network model accuracy on this subset of predictions had an MAE of 1.06 mg/dL compared with clinician predictions with an MAE of 1.38 mg/dL ( P<.0001). In babies born at 35 weeks of gestation or later, this approach was also applied to predict the binary outcome of subsequently exceeding consensus guidelines for phototherapy initiation and achieved an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.94 (95% CI 0.91 to 0.97).
This study developed predictive models for neonatal follow-up total serum bilirubin measurements that outperform clinicians. This may be the first report of models that predict specific bilirubin values, are not limited to near-term patients without risk factors, and take into account the effect of phototherapy.