Background: Severe sepsis and septic shock are still the leading causes of death in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), and timely diagnosis is crucial for treatment outcomes. The progression of electronic medical records (EMR) offers the possibility of storing a large quantity of clinical data that can facilitate the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine. However, several difficulties, such as poor structure and heterogenicity of the raw EMR data, are encountered when introducing AI with ICU data. Labor-intensive work, including manual data entry, personal medical records sorting, and laboratory results interpretation may hinder the progress of AI. In this article, we introduce the developing of an AI algorithm designed for sepsis diagnosis using pre-selected features; and compare the performance of the AI algorithm with SOFA score based diagnostic method. Materials and methods: This is a prospective open-label cohort study. A specialized EMR, named TED_ICU, was implemented for continuous data recording. One hundred six clinical features relevant to sepsis diagnosis were selected prospectively. A labeling work to allocate SEPSIS or NON_SEPSIS status for each ICU patient was performed by the in-charge intensivist according to SEPSIS-3 criteria, along with the automatic recording of selected features every day by TED_ICU. Afterward, we use de-identified data to develop the AI algorithm. Several machine learning methods were evaluated using 5-fold cross-validation, and XGBoost, a decision-tree based algorithm was adopted for our AI algorithm development due to best performance. Results: The study was conducted between August 2018 and December 2018 for the first stage of analysis. We collected 1588 instances, including 444 SEPSIS and 1144 NON-SEPSIS, from 434 patients. The 434 patients included 259 (59.6%) male patients and 175 female patients. The mean age was 67.6-year-old, and the mean APACHE II score was 13.8. The SEPSIS cohort had a higher SOFA score and increased use of organ support treatment. The AI algorithm was developed with a shuffle method using 80% of the instances for training and 20% for testing. The established AI algorithm achieved the following: accuracy = 82% ± 1%; sensitivity = 65% ± 5%; specificity = 88% ± 2%; precision = 67% ± 3%; and F1 = 0.66 ± 0.02. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) was approximately 0.89. The SOFA score was used on the same 1588 instances for sepsis diagnosis, and the result was inferior to our AI algorithm (AUROC = 0.596). Conclusion: Using real-time data, collected by EMR, from the ICU daily practice, our AI algorithm established with pre-selected features and XGBoost can provide a timely diagnosis of sepsis with an accuracy greater than 80%. AI algorithm also outperforms the SOFA score in sepsis diagnosis and exhibits practicality as clinicians can deploy appropriate treatment earlier. The early and precise response of this AI algorithm will result in cost reduction, outcome improvement, and benefit for healthcare systems, medical staff, and patients as well.
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