, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 162-179
Date: 12 Mar 2015

Issues in the Mining of Heart Failure Datasets


This paper investigates the characteristics of a clinical dataset using a combination of feature selection and classification methods to handle missing values and understand the underlying statistical characteristics of a typical clinical dataset. Typically, when a large clinical dataset is presented, it consists of challenges such as missing values, high dimensionality, and unbalanced classes. These pose an inherent problem when implementing feature selection and classification algorithms. With most clinical datasets, an initial exploration of the dataset is carried out, and those attributes with more than a certain percentage of missing values are eliminated from the dataset. Later, with the help of missing value imputation, feature selection and classification algorithms, prognostic and diagnostic models are developed. This paper has two main conclusions: 1) Despite the nature of clinical datasets, and their large size, methods for missing value imputation do not affect the final performance. What is crucial is that the dataset is an accurate representation of the clinical problem and those methods of imputing missing values are not critical for developing classifiers and prognostic/diagnostic models. 2) Supervised learning has proven to be more suitable for mining clinical data than unsupervised methods. It is also shown that non-parametric classifiers such as decision trees give better results when compared to parametric classifiers such as radial basis function networks (RBFNs).