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An increasing number of delivering women experience major morbidity and mortality. Limited work has been done on automated predictive models that could be used for prevention. Using only routinely collected obstetrical data, this study aimed to develop a predictive model suitable for real-time use with an electronic medical record. We used a retrospective cohort study design with split validation. The denominator consisted of women admitted to a delivery service. The numerator consisted of women who experienced a composite outcome that included both maternal (eg, uterine rupture, postpartum hemorrhage), fetal (eg, stillbirth), and neonatal (eg, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) adverse events. We employed machine learning methods, assessing model performance using the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve and number needed to evaluate. A total of 303,678 deliveries took place at 15 study hospitals between January 1, 2010, and March 31, 2018, and 4130 (1.36%) had ≥1 obstetrical complication. We employed data from 209,611 randomly selected deliveries (January 1, 2010, to March 31, 2017) as a derivation dataset and validated our findings on data from 52,398 randomly selected deliveries during the same time period (validation 1 dataset). We then applied our model to data from 41,669 deliveries from the last year of the study (April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018 [validation 2 dataset]). Our model included 35 variables (eg, demographics, vital signs, laboratory tests, progress of labor indicators). In the validation 2 dataset, a gradient boosted model (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve or c statistic, 0.786) was slightly superior to a logistic regression model (c statistic, 0.778). Using an alert threshold of 4.1%, our final model would flag 16.7% of women and detect 52% of adverse outcomes, with a number needed to evaluate of 20.9 and 0.455 first alerts per day per 1000 annual deliveries. In conclusion, electronic medical record data can be used to predict obstetrical complications. The clinical utility of these automated models has not yet been demonstrated. To conduct interventions to assess whether using these models results in patient benefit, future work will need to focus on the development of clinical protocols suitable for use in interventions.

Authors: Escobar, Gabriel J; Soltesz, Lauren; Schuler, Alejandro; Niki, Hamid; Malenica, Ivana; Lee, Catherine

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 02;224(2):137-147.e7. Epub 2020-10-22.

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