Prediction of Rib Fracture Injury Outcome by an Artificial Neural Network

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Outcome-based therapy is becoming the standard for assessing patient care efficacy. This study examines the ability of an artificial neural network to predict rib fracture injury outcome based on 20 intake variables determined within 1 hour of admission. The data base contained 580 patient records with four outcome variables: Length of hospital stay (LOS), ICU days, Lived, and Died. A 522-patient training set and a 58-patient test set were randomly selected. Nine networks were set up in a feed-forward, back-propagating design with each trained under different initial conditions. These networks predicted the test set outcome variables with an accuracy as high as 98% at the 80% testing level. Internal weight matrix examination indicated that age, ventilatory support, and high trauma scores were strongly associated with both ICU days and mortality. Being female, injury severity, and injury type were associated with increased LOS. Smoking and rib fracture number were low-level predictors of the four outcome variables.

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