The utility of machine learning for predicting donor discard in abdominal transplantation

Clin Transplant. 2023 May;37(5):e14951. doi: 10.1111/ctr.14951. Epub 2023 Mar 8.


Background: Increasing access and better allocation of organs in the field of transplantation is a critical problem in clinical care. Limitations exist in accurately predicting allograft discard. Potential exists for machine learning to provide a balanced assessment of the potential for an organ to be used in a transplantation procedure.

Methods: We accessed and utilized all available deceased donor United Network for Organ Sharing data from 1987 to 2020. With these data, we evaluated the performance of multiple machine learning methods for predicting organ use. The machine learning methods trialed included XGBoost, random forest, Naïve Bayes (NB), logistic regression, and fully connected feedforward neural network classifier methods. The top two methods, XGBoost and random forest, were fully developed using 10-fold cross-validation and Bayesian optimization of hyperparameters.

Results: The top performing model at predicting liver organ use was an XGBoost model which achieved an AUC-ROC of .925, an AUC-PR of .868, and an F1 statistic of .756. The top performing model for predicting kidney organ use classification was an XGBoost model which achieved an AUC-ROC of .952, and AUC-PR of .883, and an F1 statistic of .786.

Conclusions: The XGBoost method demonstrated a significant improvement in predicting donor allograft discard for both kidney and livers in solid organ transplantation procedures. Machine learning methods are well suited to be incorporated into the clinical workflow; they can provide robust quantitative predictions and meaningful data insights for clinician consideration and transplantation decision-making.

Keywords: XGBoost; discard; machine learning; outcomes; prediction; random forest; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Machine Learning*
  • Tissue Donors*