Machine learning-based preoperative predictive analytics for lumbar spinal stenosis

Alessandro Siccoli, Marlies P. de Wispelaere, Marc L. Schröder, Victor E. Staartjes

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OBJECTIVE Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) following decompression surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) demonstrate considerable heterogeneity. Individualized prediction tools can provide valuable insights for shared decision-making. The authors aim to evaluate the feasibility of predicting short- and long-term PROMs, reoperations, and perioperative parameters by machine learning (ML) methods. METHODS Data were derived from a prospective registry. All patients had undergone single- or multilevel mini-open facet-sparing decompression for LSS. The prediction models were trained using various ML-based algorithms to predict the endpoints of interest. Models were selected by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). The endpoints were dichotomized by minimum clinically important difference (MCID) and included 6-week and 12-month numeric rating scales for back pain (NRS-BP) and leg pain (NRS-LP) severity and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), as well as prolonged surgery (> 45 minutes), extended length of hospital stay ( > 28 hours), and reoperations. RESULTS A total of 635 patients were included. The average age was 62 ± 10 years, and 333 patients (52%) were male. At 6 weeks, MCID was seen in 63%, 76%, and 61% of patients for ODI, NRS-LP, and NRS-BP, respectively. At internal validation, the models predicted MCID in these variables with accuracies of 69%, 76%, and 85%, and with AUCs of 0.75, 0.79, and 0.92. At 12 months, 66%, 63%, and 51% of patients reported MCID; the observed accuracies were 62%, 74%, and 66%, with AUCs of 0.68, 0.72, and 0.79. Reoperations occurred in 60 patients (9.5%), of which 27 (4.3%) occurred at the index level. Overall and index-level reoperations were predicted with 69% and 63% accuracy, respectively, and with AUCs of 0.66 and 0.61. In 15%, a length of surgery greater than 45 minutes was observed and predicted with 78% accuracy and AUC of 0.54. Only 15% of patients were admitted to the hospital for longer than 28 hours. The developed ML-based model enabled prediction of extended hospital stay with an accuracy of 77% and AUC of 0.58. CONCLUSIONS Preoperative prediction of a range of clinically relevant endpoints in decompression surgery for LSS using ML is feasible, and may enable enhanced informed patient consent and personalized shared decision-making. Access to individualized preoperative predictive analytics for outcome and treatment risks may represent a further step in the evolution of surgical care for patients with LSS.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE5
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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