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Derivation of an electronic frailty index for predicting short‐term mortality in heart failure: a machine learning approach

Ju, Chengsheng, Zhou, Jiandong, Lee, Sharen, Tan, Martin Sebastian, Liu, Tong, Bazoukis, George, Jeevaratnam, Kamalan, Chan, Esther W.Y., Wong, Ian Chi Kei, Wei, Li, and others. (2021) Derivation of an electronic frailty index for predicting short‐term mortality in heart failure: a machine learning approach. ESC Heart Failure, 8 (4). pp. 2837-2845. ISSN 2055-5822. (doi:10.1002/ehf2.13358) (KAR id:98740)



Frailty may be found in heart failure patients especially in the elderly and is associated with a poor prognosis. However, assessment of frailty status is time-consuming, and the electronic frailty indices developed using health records have served as useful surrogates. We hypothesized that an electronic frailty index developed using machine learning can improve short-term mortality prediction in patients with heart failure.

Methods and results

This was a retrospective observational study that included patients admitted to nine public hospitals for heart failure from Hong Kong between 2013 and 2017. Age, sex, variables in the modified frailty index, Deyo's Charlson co-morbidity index (≥2), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and prognostic nutritional index at baseline were analysed. Gradient boosting, which is a supervised sequential ensemble learning algorithm with weak prediction submodels (typically decision trees), was applied to predict mortality. Variables were ranked in the order of importance with a total score of 100 and used to build the frailty models. Comparisons were made with decision tree and multivariable logistic regression. A total of 8893 patients (median: age 81, Q1–Q3: 71–87 years old) were included, in whom 9% had 30 day mortality and 17% had 90 day mortality. Prognostic nutritional index, age, and NLR were the most important variables predicting 30 day mortality (importance score: 37.4, 32.1, and 20.5, respectively) and 90 day mortality (importance score: 35.3, 36.3, and 14.6, respectively). Gradient boosting significantly outperformed decision tree and multivariable logistic regression. The area under the curve from a five-fold cross validation was 0.90 for gradient boosting and 0.87 and 0.86 for decision tree and logistic regression in predicting 30 day mortality. For the prediction of 90 day mortality, the area under the curve was 0.92, 0.89, and 0.86 for gradient boosting, decision tree, and logistic regression, respectively.


The electronic frailty index based on co-morbidities, inflammation, and nutrition information can readily predict mortality outcomes. Their predictive performances were significantly improved by gradient boosting techniques.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ehf2.13358
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Kent and Medway Medical School
Depositing User: Manfred Gschwandtner
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 11:12 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 15:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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