Machine Learning Accurately Predicts Short-Term Outcomes Following Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Ankle Fractures

Robert K. Merrill, Rocco M. Ferrandino, Ryan Hoffman, Gene W. Shaffer, Anthony Ndu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ankle fractures are common orthopedic injuries with favorable outcomes when managed with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). Several patient-related risk factors may contribute to poor short-term outcomes, and machine learning may be a valuable tool for predicting outcomes. The objective of this study was to evaluate machine-learning algorithms for accurately predicting short-term outcomes after ORIF for ankle fractures. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Nationwide Readmissions Database were queried for adult patients ≥18 years old who underwent ORIF of an ankle fracture during 2013 or 2014. Morbidity and mortality, length of stay >3 days, and 30-day all-cause readmission were the outcomes of interest. Two machine-learning models were created to identify patient and hospital characteristics associated with the 3 outcomes. The machine learning models were evaluated using confusion matrices and receiver operating characteristic area under the curve values. A total of 16,501 cases were drawn from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and used to assess morbidity and mortality and length of stay >3 days, and 33,504 cases were drawn from the Nationwide Readmissions Database to assess 30-day readmission. Older age, Medicaid, Medicare, deficiency anemia, congestive heart failure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, and renal failure were the variables associated with a statistically significant increased risk of developing all 3 adverse events. Logistic regression and gradient boosting had similar area under the curve values for each outcome, but gradient boosting was more accurate and more specific for predicting each outcome. Our results suggest that several comorbidities may be associated with adverse short-term outcomes after ORIF of ankle fractures, and that machine learning can accurately predict these outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • 3
  • ankle ORIF
  • ankle fracture
  • gradient boosting
  • logistic regression
  • machine learning
  • readmissions


Dive into the research topics of 'Machine Learning Accurately Predicts Short-Term Outcomes Following Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Ankle Fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this