A Time-Updated, Parsimonious Model to Predict AKI in Hospitalized Children


Timely prediction of AKI in children can allow for targeted interventions, but the wealth of data in the electronic health record poses unique modeling challenges.


We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of all children younger than 18 years old who had at least two creatinine values measured during a hospital admission from January 2014 through January 2018. We divided the study population into derivation, and internal and external validation cohorts, and used five feature selection techniques to select 10 of 720 potentially predictive variables from the electronic health records. Model performance was assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve in the validation cohorts. The primary outcome was development of AKI (per the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes creatinine definition) within a moving 48-hour window. Secondary outcomes included severe AKI (stage 2 or 3), inpatient mortality, and length of stay.


Among 8473 encounters studied, AKI occurred in 516 (10.2%), 207 (9%), and 27 (2.5%) encounters in the derivation, and internal and external validation cohorts, respectively. The highest-performing model used a machine learning-based genetic algorithm, with an overall receiver operating characteristic curve in the internal validation cohort of 0.76 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.72 to 0.79] for AKI, 0.79 (95% CI, 0.74 to 0.83) for severe AKI, and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.77 to 0.86) for neonatal AKI. To translate this prediction model into a clinical risk-stratification tool, we identified high- and low-risk threshold points.


Using various machine learning algorithms, we identified and validated a time-updated prediction model of ten readily available electronic health record variables to accurately predict imminent AKI in hospitalized children.