Deep Neural Networks can Predict Incident Atrial Fibrillation from the 12-lead Electrocardiogram and may help Prevent Associated Strokes


April 27, 2020

medRxiv, Tempus-authored — Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with substantial morbidity, especially when it goes undetected. If new onset AF could be predicted, targeted population screening could be used to find it early. We hypothesized that a deep neural network could predict new onset AF from the resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and that this prediction may help prevent AF-related stroke.

Methods: We used 1.6M resting 12-lead ECG voltage-time traces from 430k patients collected from 1984-2019 in this study. Deep neural networks were trained to predict new onset AF (within 1 year) in patients without a history of AF. Performance was evaluated using areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and precision-recall curve (AUPRC). We performed an incidence-free survival analysis for a period of 30 years following the ECG stratified by model predictions. To simulate real-world deployment, we trained a separate model using all ECGs prior to 2010 and evaluated model performance on a test set of ECGs from 2010 through 2014 that were linked to our stroke registry. We used standard metrics to explore different prediction thresholds for the model and also calculated how many AF-related strokes might be potentially prevented.

Results: The AUROC and AUPRC were 0.83 and 0.21, respectively, for predicting new onset AF within 1 year of an ECG. Adding age and sex improved the AUROC to 0.85 and the AUPRC to 0.23. The hazard ratio for the predicted high- vs. low-risk groups over a 30-year span was 7.2 [95% confidence interval: 6.9 – 7.6]. In a simulated deployment scenario, using the F2 score to select the risk prediction threshold, the model predicted new onset AF at 1 year with a sensitivity of 69%, specificity of 81%, and positive predictive value (PPV) of 12%. This model correctly predicted new onset AF in 62% of all patients that experienced an AF-related stroke within 3 years of the ECG.

Conclusions: Deep learning can predict new onset AF from the 12-lead ECG in patients with no prior history of AF. This prediction may prove useful in preventing AF-related strokes.

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Authors: Sushravya Raghunath, John M Pfeifer, Alvaro E Ulloa Cerna, Arun Nemani, Tanner Carbonati, Linyuan Jing, David vanMaanen, Bern E McCarty, Dustin N Hartzel, Jeffrey A Ruhl, Nathan J Stoudt, Kipp W Johnson, Noah Zimmerman, Joseph B Leader, H. Lester Kirchner, Christoph Griessenauer, Ashraf Hafez, Christopher W Good, Brandon K Fornwalt, Christopher M Haggerty