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Early diagnosis of bloodstream infections in the intensive care unit using machine-learning algorithms

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We aimed to develop a machine-learning (ML) algorithm that can predict intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired bloodstream infections (BSI) among patients suspected of infection in the ICU.


The study was based on patients’ electronic health records at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and at Rambam Health Care Campus (RHCC), Haifa, Israel. We included adults from whom blood cultures were collected for suspected BSI at least 48 h after admission. Clinical data, including time-series variables and their interactions, were analyzed by an ML algorithm at each site. Prediction ability for ICU-acquired BSI was assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) of ten-fold cross-validation and validation sets with 95% confidence intervals.


The datasets comprised 2351 patients from BIDMC (151 with BSI) and 1021 from RHCC (162 with BSI). The median (inter-quartile range) age was 62 (51–75) and 56 (38–69) years, respectively; the median Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores were 26 (21–32) and 24 (20–29), respectively. The means of the cross-validation AUROCs were 0.87 ± 0.02 for BIDMC and 0.93 ± 0.03 for RHCC. AUROCs of 0.89 ± 0.01 and 0.92 ± 0.02 were maintained in both centers with internal validation, while external validation deteriorated. Valuable predictors were mainly the trends of time-series variables such as laboratory results and vital signs.


An ML approach that uses temporal and site-specific data achieved high performance in recognizing BC samples with a high probability for ICU-acquired BSI.

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We thank Belina Neuberger for editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Michael Roimi.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest, nor did they receive any financial support for the current study. The code of the models was uploaded into GitHub under “ICU-acquired BSI prediction model”.

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The study was approved by the independent ethics committee of Rambam Health Care Campus.

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Roimi, M., Neuberger, A., Shrot, A. et al. Early diagnosis of bloodstream infections in the intensive care unit using machine-learning algorithms . Intensive Care Med 46, 454–462 (2020).

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