A methodological comparison of risk scores versus decision trees for predicting drug-resistant infections: A case study using extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) bacteremia

Katherine E. Goodman, Justin Lessler, Anthony D. Harris, Aaron M. Milstone, Pranita D. Tamma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Timely identification of multidrug-resistant gram-negative infections remains an epidemiological challenge. Statistical models for predicting drug resistance can offer utility where rapid diagnostics are unavailable or resource-impractical. Logistic regression-derived risk scores are common in the healthcare epidemiology literature. Machine learning-derived decision trees are an alternative approach for developing decision support tools. Our group previously reported on a decision tree for predicting ESBL bloodstream infections. Our objective in the current study was to develop a risk score from the same ESBL dataset to compare these 2 methods and to offer general guiding principles for using each approach.Methods: Using a dataset of 1,288 patients with Escherichia coli or Klebsiella spp bacteremia, we generated a risk score to predict the likelihood that a bacteremic patient was infected with an ESBL-producer. We evaluated discrimination (original and cross-validated models) using receiver operating characteristic curves and C statistics. We compared risk score and decision tree performance, and we reviewed their practical and methodological attributes.Results: In total, 194 patients (15%) were infected with ESBL-producing bacteremia. The clinical risk score included 14 variables, compared to the 5 decision-tree variables. The positive and negative predictive values of the risk score and decision tree were similar (>90%), but the C statistic of the risk score (0.87) was 10% higher.Conclusions: A decision tree and risk score performed similarly for predicting ESBL infection. The decision tree was more user-friendly, with fewer variables for the end user, whereas the risk score offered higher discrimination and greater flexibility for adjusting sensitivity and specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalInfection control and hospital epidemiology
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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