An artificial neural network as a model for prediction of survival in trauma patients: Validation for a regional trauma area

Stephen M. DiRusso, Thomas Sullivan, Cheryl Holly, Sara Nealon Cuff, John Savino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: To develop and validate an artificial neural network (ANN) for predicting survival of trauma patients based on standard prehospital variables, emergency room admission variables, and Injury Severity Score (ISS) using data derived from a regional area trauma system, and to compare this model with known trauma scoring systems. Patient Population: The study was composed of 10,609 patients admitted to 24 hospitals comprising a seven-county suburban/rural trauma region adjacent to a major metropolitan area. The data was generated as part of the New York State trauma registry. Study period was from January 1993 through December 1996 (1993-1994: 5,168 patients; 1995: 2,768 patients; 1996: 2,673 patients). Methods: A standard feed-forward back-propagation neural network was developed using Glasgow Coma Scale, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, hematocrit, age, sex, intubation status, ICD-9-CM Injury E-code, and ISS as input variables. The network had a single layer of hidden nodes. Initial network development of the model was performed on the 1993-1994 data. Subsequent models were generated using the 1993, 1994, and 1995 data. The model was tested first on the 1995 and then on the 1996 data. The ANN model was tested against Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) and ISS using the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) area under the curve [ROC-A(z)], Lemeshow-Hosmer C-statistic, and calibration curves. Results: The ANN showed good clustering of the data, with good separation of nonsurvivors and survivors. The ROC-A(z) was 0.912 for the ANN, 0.895 for TRISS, and 0.766 for ISS. The ANN exceeded TRISS with respect to calibration (Lemeshow-Hosmer C-statistic: 7.4 for ANN; 17.1 for TRISS). The prediction of survivors was good for both models. The ANN exceeded TRISS in nonsurvivor prediction. Conclusion: An ANN developed for trauma patients using prehospital, emergency room admission data, and ISS gave good prediction of survival. It was accurate and had excellent calibration. This study expands our previous results developed at a single Level I trauma center and shows that an ANN model for predicting trauma deaths can be applied across hospitals with good results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-223
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


  • Artificial neural networks
  • ISS
  • Survival


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