Predicting two-year survival versus non-survival after first myocardial infarction using machine learning and Swedish national register data

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2017 Jul 5;17(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s12911-017-0500-y.


Background: Machine learning algorithms hold potential for improved prediction of all-cause mortality in cardiovascular patients, yet have not previously been developed with high-quality population data. This study compared four popular machine learning algorithms trained on unselected, nation-wide population data from Sweden to solve the binary classification problem of predicting survival versus non-survival 2 years after first myocardial infarction (MI).

Methods: This prospective national registry study for prognostic accuracy validation of predictive models used data from 51,943 complete first MI cases as registered during 6 years (2006-2011) in the national quality register SWEDEHEART/RIKS-HIA (90% coverage of all MIs in Sweden) with follow-up in the Cause of Death register (> 99% coverage). Primary outcome was AUROC (C-statistic) performance of each model on the untouched test set (40% of cases) after model development on the training set (60% of cases) with the full (39) predictor set. Model AUROCs were bootstrapped and compared, correcting the P-values for multiple comparisons with the Bonferroni method. Secondary outcomes were derived when varying sample size (1-100% of total) and predictor sets (39, 10, and 5) for each model. Analyses were repeated on 79,869 completed cases after multivariable imputation of predictors.

Results: A Support Vector Machine with a radial basis kernel developed on 39 predictors had the highest complete cases performance on the test set (AUROC = 0.845, PPV = 0.280, NPV = 0.966) outperforming Boosted C5.0 (0.845 vs. 0.841, P = 0.028) but not significantly higher than Logistic Regression or Random Forest. Models converged to the point of algorithm indifference with increased sample size and predictors. Using the top five predictors also produced good classifiers. Imputed analyses had slightly higher performance.

Conclusions: Improved mortality prediction at hospital discharge after first MI is important for identifying high-risk individuals eligible for intensified treatment and care. All models performed accurately and similarly and because of the superior national coverage, the best model can potentially be used to better differentiate new patients, allowing for improved targeting of limited resources. Future research should focus on further model development and investigate possibilities for implementation.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Classification; Coronary Artery Syndrome; Myocardial infarction; Prognostic Modelling; Registries; Supervised machine learning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Myocardial Infarction / classification
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Support Vector Machine*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology