Development of a national Department of Veterans Affairs mortality risk prediction model among patients with cirrhosis
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Objective: Cirrhotic patients are at high hospitalization risk with subsequent high mortality. Current risk prediction models have varied performances with methodological room for improvement. We used current analytical techniques using automatically extractable variables from the electronic health record (EHR) to develop and validate a post hospitalization mortality risk score for cirrhotic patients and compared performance with the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), model for end-stage liver disease with sodium (MELD-Na), and the CLIF Consortium Acute Decompensation (CLIF-C AD) models. Design: We analysed a retrospective cohort of 73 976 patients comprising 247 650 hospitalisations between 2006 and 2013 at any of 123 Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals. Using 45 predictor variables, we built a time dependent Cox proportional hazards model with all-cause mortality as the outcome. We compared performance to the three extant models and reported discrimination and calibration using bootstrapping. Furthermore, we analysed differential utility using the net reclassification index (NRI). Results: The C-statistic for the final model was 0.863, representing a significant improvement over the MELD, MELD-Na, and the CLIF-C AD, which had C-statistics of 0.655, 0.675, and 0.679, respectively. Multiple risk factors were significant in our model, including variables reflecting disease severity and haemodynamic compromise. The NRI showed a 24% improvement in predicting survival of low-risk patients and a 30% improvement in predicting death of high-risk patients. Conclusion We developed a more accurate mortality risk prediction score using variables automatically extractable from an EHR that may be used to risk stratify patients with cirrhosis for targeted postdischarge management.