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Automated Assessment of Existing Patient’s Revised Cardiac Risk Index Using Algorithmic Software

May 1, 2019



Previous work in the field of medical informatics has shown that rules-based algorithms can be created to identify patients with various medical conditions; however, these techniques have not been compared to actual clinician notes nor has the ability to predict complications been tested. We hypothesize that a rules-based algorithm can successfully identify patients with the diseases in the Revised Cardiac Risk Index (RCRI).


Patients undergoing surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles Health System between April 1, 2013 and July 1, 2016 and who had at least 2 previous office visits were included. For each disease in the RCRI except renal failure—congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus—diagnosis algorithms were created based on diagnostic and standard clinical treatment criteria. For each disease state, the prevalence of the disease as determined by the algorithm, International Classification of Disease (ICD) code, and anesthesiologist’s preoperative note were determined. Additionally, 400 American Society of Anesthesiologists classes III and IV cases were randomly chosen for manual review by an anesthesiologist. The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve were determined using the manual review as a gold standard. Last, the ability of the RCRI as calculated by each of the methods to predict in-hospital mortality was determined, and the time necessary to run the algorithms was calculated.


A total of 64,151 patients met inclusion criteria for the study. In general, the incidence of definite or likely disease determined by the algorithms was higher than that detected by the anesthesiologist. Additionally, in all disease states, the prevalence of disease was always lowest for the ICD codes, followed by the preoperative note, followed by the algorithms. In the subset of patients for whom the records were manually reviewed, the algorithms were generally the most sensitive and the ICD codes the most specific. When computing the modified RCRI using each of the methods, the modified RCRI from the algorithms predicted in-hospital mortality with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.70 (0.67–0.73), which compared to 0.70 (0.67–0.72) for ICD codes and 0.64 (0.61–0.67) for the preoperative note. On average, the algorithms took 12.64 ± 1.20 minutes to run on 1.4 million patients.


Rules-based algorithms for disease in the RCRI can be created that perform with a similar discriminative ability as compared to physician notes and ICD codes but with significantly increased economies of scale.

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