Risk stratification in pulmonary arterial hypertension using Bayesian analysis

Eur Respir J. 2020 Aug 27;56(2):2000008. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00008-2020. Print 2020 Aug.


Background: Current risk stratification tools in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are limited in their discriminatory abilities, partly due to the assumption that prognostic clinical variables have an independent and linear relationship to clinical outcomes. We sought to demonstrate the utility of Bayesian network-based machine learning in enhancing the predictive ability of an existing state-of-the-art risk stratification tool, REVEAL 2.0.

Methods: We derived a tree-augmented naïve Bayes model (titled PHORA) to predict 1-year survival in PAH patients included in the REVEAL registry, using the same variables and cut-points found in REVEAL 2.0. PHORA models were validated internally (within the REVEAL registry) and externally (in the COMPERA and PHSANZ registries). Patients were classified as low-, intermediate- and high-risk (<5%, 5-20% and >10% 12-month mortality, respectively) based on the 2015 European Society of Cardiology/European Respiratory Society guidelines.

Results: PHORA had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.80 for predicting 1-year survival, which was an improvement over REVEAL 2.0 (AUC 0.76). When validated in the COMPERA and PHSANZ registries, PHORA demonstrated an AUC of 0.74 and 0.80, respectively. 1-year survival rates predicted by PHORA were greater for patients with lower risk scores and poorer for those with higher risk scores (p<0.001), with excellent separation between low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups in all three registries.

Conclusion: Our Bayesian network-derived risk prediction model, PHORA, demonstrated an improvement in discrimination over existing models. This is reflective of the ability of Bayesian network-based models to account for the interrelationships between clinical variables on outcome, and tolerance to missing data elements when calculating predictions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension*
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment