Predicting the Amputation Risk for Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulceration – A Bayesian Decision Support Tool
Background: Diabetes mellitus is a major global health issue with a growing prevalence. In this context, the number of diabetic complications is also on the rise, such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFU), which are closely linked to the risk of lower extremity amputation (LEA). Statistical prediction tools may support clinicians to initiate early tertiary LEA prevention for DFU patients. Thus, we designed Bayesian prediction models, as they produce transparent decision rules, quantify uncertainty
... ify uncertainty intuitively and acknowledge prior available scientific knowledge.Method: A logistic regression using observational collected according to the standardised PEDIS classification was utilised to compute the six-month amputation risk of DFU patients for two types of LEA: 1.) any-amputation and 2.) major-amputation. Being able to incorporate information which is available before the analysis, the Bayesian models were fitted following a twofold strategy. First, the designed prediction models waive the available information and, second, we incorporated the a priori available scientific knowledge into our models. Then, we evaluated each model with respect to the effect of the predictors and validity of the models. Next, we compared the performance of both models with respect to the incorporation of prior knowledge.Results: This study included 237 patients. The mean age was 65.9 (SD 12.3), and 83.5 per cent were male. Concerning the outcome, 31.6% underwent any- and 12.2% underwent a major-amputation procedure. The risk factors of perfusion, ulcer extent and depth revealed an impact on the outcomes, whereas the infection status and sensation did not. The major-amputation model using prior information outperformed the uninformed counterpart (AUC 0.765 vs AUC 0.790, Cohen's d 2.21). In contrast, the models predicting any-amputation performed similarly (0.793 vs 0.790, Cohen's d 0.22).Conclusions: Both of the Bayesian amputation risk models showed acceptable prognostic values, and the major-amputation model benefitted from incorporating a priori information from a previous study. Thus, PEDIS serves as a valid foundation for a clinical decision support tool for the prediction of the amputation risk in DFU patients. Furthermore, we demonstrated the use of the available prior scientific information within a Bayesian framework to establish chains of knowledge.