Machine Learning to Predict Interstage Mortality Following Single Ventricle Palliation: A NPC-QIC Database Analysis

Pediatr Cardiol. 2023 Aug;44(6):1242-1250. doi: 10.1007/s00246-023-03130-z. Epub 2023 Feb 23.


There is high risk of mortality between stage I and stage II palliation of single ventricle heart disease. This study aimed to leverage advanced machine learning algorithms to optimize risk-prediction models and identify features most predictive of interstage mortality. This study utilized retrospective data from the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative and included all patients who underwent stage I palliation and survived to hospital discharge (2008-2019). Multiple machine learning models were evaluated, including logistic regression, random forest, gradient boosting trees, extreme gradient boost trees, and light gradient boosting machines. A total of 3267 patients were included with 208 (6.4%) interstage deaths. Machine learning models were trained on 180 clinical features. Digoxin use at discharge was the most influential factor resulting in a lower risk of interstage mortality (p < 0.0001). Stage I surgery with Blalock-Taussig-Thomas shunt portended higher risk than Sano conduit (7.8% vs 4.4%, p = 0.0002). Non-modifiable risk factors identified with increased risk of interstage mortality included female sex, lower gestational age, and lower birth weight. Post-operative risk factors included the requirement of unplanned catheterization and more severe atrioventricular valve insufficiency at discharge. Light gradient boosting machines demonstrated the best performance with an area under the receiver operative characteristic curve of 0.642. Advanced machine learning algorithms highlight a number of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for interstage mortality following stage I palliation. However, model performance remains modest, suggesting the presence of unmeasured confounders that contribute to interstage risk.

Keywords: Congenital Heart Disease; Interstage; Machine Learning; Mortality; Single Ventricle.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Heart Ventricles / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome* / surgery
  • Infant
  • Norwood Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Univentricular Heart*