Machine Learning Compared with Rule-in/Rule-out Algorithms and Logistic Regression to Predict Acute Myocardial Infarction Based on Troponin T Concentrations

Objective: Computerized decision-support tools may improve diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) among patients presenting with chest pain at the emergency department (ED). The primary aim was to assess the predictive accuracy of machine learning algorithms based on paired high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) concentrations with varying sampling times, age, and sex in order to rule in or out AMI.

Methods: In this register-based, cross-sectional diagnostic study conducted retrospectively based on 5695 chest pain patients at 2 hospitals in Sweden 2013-2014 we used 5-fold cross-validation 200 times in order to compare the performance of an artificial neural network (ANN) with European guideline-recommended 0/1- and 0/3-hour algorithms for hs-cTnT and with logistic regression without interaction terms. Primary outcome was the size of the intermediate risk group where AMI could not be ruled in or out, while holding the sensitivity (rule-out) and specificity (rule-in) constant across models.

Results: ANN and logistic regression had similar (95%) areas under the receiver operating characteristics curve. In patients (n = 4171) where the timing requirements (0/1 or 0/3 hour) for the sampling were met, using ANN led to a relative decrease of 9.2% (95% confidence interval 4.4% to 13.8%; from 24.5% to 22.2% of all tested patients) in the size of the intermediate group compared to the recommended algorithms. By contrast, using logistic regression did not substantially decrease the size of the intermediate group.

Conclusion: Machine learning algorithms allow for flexibility in sampling and have the potential to improve risk assessment among chest pain patients at the ED.