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Development and validation of prediction models for gestational diabetes treatment modality using supervised machine learning: a population-based cohort study

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is prevalent and benefits from timely and effective treatment, given the short window to impact glycemic control. Clinicians face major barriers to choosing effectively among treatment modalities [medical nutrition therapy (MNT) with or without pharmacologic treatment (antidiabetic oral agents and/or insulin)]. We investigated whether clinical data at varied stages of pregnancy can predict GDM treatment modality. Among a population-based cohort of 30,474 pregnancies with GDM delivered at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in 2007-2017, we selected those in 2007-2016 as the discovery set and 2017 as the temporal/future validation set. Potential predictors were extracted from electronic health records at different timepoints (levels 1-4): (1) 1-year preconception to the last menstrual period, (2) the last menstrual period to GDM diagnosis, (3) at GDM diagnosis, and (4) 1 week after GDM diagnosis. We compared transparent and ensemble machine learning prediction methods, including least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression and super learner, containing classification and regression tree, LASSO regression, random forest, and extreme gradient boosting algorithms, to predict risks for pharmacologic treatment beyond MNT. The super learner using levels 1-4 predictors had higher predictability [tenfold cross-validated C-statistic in discovery/validation set: 0.934 (95% CI: 0.931-0.936)/0.815 (0.800-0.829)], compared to levels 1, 1-2, and 1-3 (discovery/validation set C-statistic: 0.683-0.869/0.634-0.754). A simpler, more interpretable model, including timing of GDM diagnosis, diagnostic fasting glucose value, and the status and frequency of glycemic control at fasting during one-week post diagnosis, was developed using tenfold cross-validated logistic regression based on super learner-selected predictors. This model compared to the super learner had only a modest reduction in predictability [discovery/validation set C-statistic: 0.825 (0.820-0.830)/0.798 (95% CI: 0.783-0.813)]. Clinical data demonstrated reasonably high predictability for GDM treatment modality at the time of GDM diagnosis and high predictability at 1-week post GDM diagnosis. These population-based, clinically oriented models may support algorithm-based risk-stratification for treatment modality, inform timely treatment, and catalyze more effective management of GDM.

Authors: Liao, Lauren D; Ferrara, Assiamira; Greenberg, Mara B; Ngo, Amanda L; Feng, Juanran; Zhang, Zhenhua; Bradshaw, Patrick T; Hubbard, Alan E; Zhu, Yeyi

BMC Med. 2022 09 15;20(1):307. Epub 2022-09-15.

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