Background: Surgical mechanical ventricular assistance and cardiac replacement therapies, although life-saving in many heart failure (HF) patients, remain high-risk. Despite this, the difficulty in timely identification of medical therapy nonresponders and the dire consequences of nonresponse have fueled early, less selective surgical referral. Patients who would have ultimately responded to medical therapy are therefore subjected to the risk and life disruption of surgical therapy. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to develop deep learning models based upon commonly-available electronic health record (EHR) variables to assist clinicians in the timely and accurate identification of HF medical therapy nonresponders. Methods: The study cohort consisted of all patients (age 18 to 90 years) admitted to a single tertiary care institution from January 2009 through December 2018, with International Classification of Disease HF diagnostic coding. Ensemble deep learning models employing time-series and densely-connected networks were developed from standard EHR data. The positive class included all observations resulting in severe progression (death from any cause or referral for HF surgical intervention) within 1 year. Results: A total of 79,850 distinct admissions from 52,265 HF patients met observation criteria and contributed >350 million EHR datapoints for model training, validation, and testing. A total of 20% of model observations fit positive class criteria. The model C-statistic was 0.91. Conclusions: The demonstrated accuracy of EHR-based deep learning model prediction of 1-year all-cause death or referral for HF surgical therapy supports clinical relevance. EHR-based deep learning models have considerable potential to assist HF clinicians in improving the application of advanced HF surgical therapy in medical therapy nonresponders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-647
Number of pages11
JournalJACC: Heart Failure
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • heart failure (HF)
  • machine learning
  • mechanical circulatory support
  • ventricular assist device (VAD)


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