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Predicting the risk of asthma attacks in children, adolescents and adults: protocol for a machine learning algorithm derived from a primary care-based retrospective cohort

Lay Summary


Most asthma attacks and subsequent deaths are potentially preventable. We aim to develop a prognostic tool for identifying patients at high risk of asthma attacks in primary care by leveraging advances in machine learning.

Methods and analysis

Current prognostic tools use logistic regression to develop a risk scoring model for asthma attacks. We propose to build on this by systematically applying various well-known machine learning techniques to a large longitudinal deidentified primary care database, the Optimum Patient Care Research Database, and comparatively evaluate their performance with the existing logistic regression model and against each other. Machine learning algorithms vary in their predictive abilities based on the dataset and the approach to analysis employed. We will undertake feature selection, classification (both one-class and two-class classifiers) and performance evaluation. Patients who have had actively treated clinician-diagnosed asthma, aged 8-80 years and with 3 years of continuous data, from 2016 to 2018, will be selected. Risk factors will be obtained from the first year, while the next 2 years will form the outcome period, in which the primary endpoint will be the occurrence of an asthma attack.

Ethics and dissemination

We have obtained approval from OPCRD's Anonymous Data Ethics Protocols and Transparency (ADEPT) Committee. We will seek ethics approval from The University of Edinburgh's Research Ethics Group (UREG). We aim to present our findings at scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.


Hussain Z, Shah SA, Mukherjee M, Sheikh A.

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