A naïve Bayes classifier for planning transfusion requirements in heart surgery


Dr Paolo Barbini, Department of Surgery and Bioengineering, University of Siena, Viale Bracci, 53100 Siena, Italy, E-mail: paolo.barbini@unisi.it


Rationale, aims and objectives  Transfusion of allogeneic blood products is a key issue in cardiac surgery. Although blood conservation and standard transfusion guidelines have been published by different medical groups, actual transfusion practices after cardiac surgery vary widely among institutions. Models can be a useful support for decision making and may reduce the total cost of care. The objective of this study was to propose and evaluate a procedure to develop a simple locally customized decision-support system.

Methods  We analysed 3182 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac surgery at the University Hospital of Siena, Italy. Univariate statistical tests were performed to identify a set of preoperative and intraoperative variables as likely independent features for planning transfusion quantities. These features were utilized to design a naïve Bayes classifier. Model performance was evaluated using the leave-one-out cross-validation approach. All computations were done using spss and matlab code.

Results  The overall correct classification percentage was not particularly high if several classes of patients were to be identified. Model performance improved appreciably when the patient sample was divided into two classes (transfused and non-transfused patients). In this case the naïve Bayes model correctly classified about three quarters of patients with 71.2% sensitivity and 78.4% specificity, thus providing useful information for recognizing patients with transfusion requirements in the specific scenario considered.

Conclusions  Although the classifier is customized to a particular setting and cannot be generalized to other scenarios, the simplicity of its development and the results obtained make it a promising approach for designing a simple model for different heart surgery centres needing a customized decision-support system for planning transfusion requirements in intensive care unit.