SALAD-BAAR: A numerical risk score for hospital admission or emergency department presentation in ambulatory patients with cardiovascular disease

Clin Cardiol. 2021 Feb;44(2):193-199. doi: 10.1002/clc.23525.


Background: While many interventions to reduce hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) visits for patients with cardiovascular disease have been developed, identifying ambulatory cardiac patients at high risk for admission can be challenging.

Hypothesis: A computational model based on readily accessible clinical data can identify patients at risk for admission.

Methods: Electronic health record (EHR) data from a tertiary referral center were used to generate decision tree and logistic regression models. International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes, labs, admissions, medications, vital signs, and socioenvironmental variables were used to model risk for ED presentation or hospital admission within 90 days following a cardiology clinic visit. Model training and testing were performed with a 70:30 data split. The final model was then prospectively validated.

Results: A total of 9326 patients and 46 465 clinic visits were analyzed. A decision tree model using 75 patient characteristics achieved an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.75 and a logistic regression model achieved an AUC of 0.73. A simplified 9-feature model based on logistic regression odds ratios achieved an AUC of 0.72. A further simplified numerical score assigning 1 or 2 points to each variable achieved an AUC of 0.66, specificity of 0.75, and sensitivity of 0.58. Prospectively, this final model maintained its predictive performance (AUC 0.63-0.60).

Conclusion: Nine patient characteristics from routine EHR data can be used to inform a highly specific model for hospital admission or ED presentation in cardiac patients. This model can be simplified to a risk score that is easily calculated and retains predictive performance.

Keywords: hospital admission; risk prediction.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Patient Admission
  • Risk Factors
  • Salads*
  • Tertiary Care Centers