Predicting Quality Of Life Changes In Hemodialysis Patients Using Machine Learning: Generation Of An Early Warning System


To predict changes in the quality of life scores of hemodialysis patients for the coming month and the development of an early warning system using machine learning.


It was a prospective cohort study (one-month duration) at the dialysis center of a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. The study started on 1 st October 2016. About 78 patients have been enrolled till now. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) qualified doctors administered a proforma with demographics and the validated Urdu version of World Health Organization Quality Of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF). It was to be repeated after one month to the same patient by the same investigator. Simple statistics were computed using SPSS version 24 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY) while machine learning was performed using R (version 3.0) and Orange (version 3.1).


Using machine learning algorithms, two models (classification tree and Naïve Bayes) were generated to predict an increase or decrease of 5% in a patient’s WHOQOL-BREF score over one month. The classification tree was selected as the most accurate model with an area under curve (AUC) of 83.3% (accuracy: 81.9%) for the prediction of 5% increase in QOL and an AUC of 76.2% (accuracy: 81.8%) for the prediction of 5% decrease in QOL over the coming month. The factors associated with an increase of QOL by 5% or more over the next month included younger age (<19 years) and higher iron sucrose doses (>278mg/month). Drops in psychological, physical, and social domain scores lead to a decrease of 5% or more in QOL scores over the following month.


An early warning system, dialysis data interpretation for algorithmic-prediction on quality of life (DIAL) was built for the early detection of deteriorating QOL scores in the hemodialysis population using machine learning algorithms. The model pointed out that working on psychological and environmental domains, in particular, may prevent the drop in QOL scores from occurring. DIAL, if implemented on a larger scale, is expected to help patients in terms of ensuring a better QOL and in reducing the financial burden in the long term.

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Shoaib Saadat

Renal Registrar, Data Scientist, Clinical Researcher

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