Machine learning based prediction of prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation incorporating medication data


Rationale: Duration of mechanical ventilation is associated with adverse outcomes in critically ill patients and increased use of resources. The increasing complexity of medication regimens has been associated with increased mortality, length of stay, and fluid overload but has never been studied specifically in the setting of mechanical ventilation. Objective: The purpose of this analysis was to develop prediction models for mechanical ventilation duration to test the hypothesis that incorporating medication data may improve model performance. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of adults admitted to the ICU and undergoing mechanical ventilation for longer than 24 hours from October 2015 to October 2020. Patients were excluded if it was not their index ICU admission or if the patient was placed on comfort care in the first 24 hours of admission. Relevant patient characteristics including age, sex, body mass index, admission diagnosis, morbidities, vital signs measurements, severity of illness, medication regimen complexity as measured by the MRC-ICU, and medical treatments before intubation were collected. The primary outcome was area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) of prediction models for prolonged mechanical ventilation (defined as greater than 5 days). Both logistic regression and supervised learning techniques including XGBoost, Random Forest, and Support Vector Machine were used to develop prediction models. Results: The 318 patients [age 59.9 (SD 16.9), female 39.3%, medical 28.6%] had mean 24-hour MRC-ICU score of 21.3 (10.5), mean APACHE II score of 21.0 (5.4), mean SOFA score of 9.9 (3.3), and ICU mortality rate of 22.6% (n=72). The strongest performing logistic model was the base model with MRC-ICU added, with AUROC of 0.72, positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.83, and negative prediction value (NPV) of 0.92. The strongest overall model was Random Forest with an AUROC of 0.78, a PPV of 0.53, and NPV of 0.90. Feature importance analysis using support vector machine and Random Forest revealed severity of illness scores and medication related data were the most important predictors. Conclusions: Medication regimen complexity is significantly associated with prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients, and prediction models incorporating medication information showed modest improvement in this prediction.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

Funding through Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality for Dr. Sikora was provided through R21HS028485 and for Drs. Sikora and Shen through R01HS029009. Partial support by R35GM146612 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences was also provided to Dr. Shen.

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I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.


The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

IRB of the University of Georgia gave ethical approval for this work.

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Data Availability

All data produced in the present study are available upon reasonable request to the authors.

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