Purpose: Predict nonhome discharge (NHD) following elective anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) using an explainable machine learning model. Methods: 2227 patients undergoing elective ACDF from 2008 to 2019 were identified from a single institutional database. A machine learning model was trained on preoperative variables, including demographics, comorbidity indices, and levels fused. The validation technique was repeated stratified K-Fold cross validation with the area under the receiver operating curve (AUROC) statistic as the performance metric. Shapley Additive Explanation (SHAP) values were calculated to provide further explainability regarding the model’s decision making. Results: The preoperative model performed with an AUROC of 0.83 ± 0.05. SHAP scores revealed the most pertinent risk factors to be age, medicare insurance, and American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) score. Interaction analysis demonstrated that female patients over 65 with greater fusion levels were more likely to undergo NHD. Likewise, ASA demonstrated positive interaction effects with female sex, levels fused and BMI. Conclusion: We validated an explainable machine learning model for the prediction of NHD using common preoperative variables. Adding transparency is a key step towards clinical application because it demonstrates that our model’s “thinking” aligns with clinical reasoning. Interactive analysis demonstrated that those of age over 65, female sex, higher ASA score, and greater fusion levels were more predisposed to NHD. Age and ASA score were similar in their predictive ability. Machine learning may be used to predict NHD, and can assist surgeons with patient counseling or early discharge planning.
|Journal||European Spine Journal|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2023|
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
- Machine learning
- Outcomes prediction