Using machine learning to improve the diagnostic accuracy of the modified Duke/ESC 2015 criteria in patients with suspected prosthetic valve endocarditis: a proof of concept study

D. ten Hove*, R. H.J.A. Slart, A. W.J.M. Glaudemans, D. F. Postma, A. Gomes, L. E. Swart, W. Tanis, P. P. van Geel, G. Mecozzi, R. P.J. Budde, K. Mouridsen, B. Sinha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction: Prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) is a serious complication of prosthetic valve implantation, with an estimated yearly incidence of at least 0.4-1.0%. The Duke criteria and subsequent modifications have been developed as a diagnostic framework for infective endocarditis (IE) in clinical studies. However, their sensitivity and specificity are limited, especially for PVE. Furthermore, their most recent versions (ESC2015 and ESC2023) include advanced imaging modalities, e.g., cardiac CTA and [18F]FDG PET/CT as major criteria. However, despite these significant changes, the weighing system using major and minor criteria has remained unchanged. This may have introduced bias to the diagnostic set of criteria. Here, we aimed to evaluate and improve the predictive value of the modified Duke/ESC 2015 (MDE2015) criteria by using machine learning algorithms.

Methods: In this proof-of-concept study, we used data of a well-defined retrospective multicentre cohort of 160 patients evaluated for suspected PVE. Four machine learning algorithms were compared to the prediction of the diagnosis according to the MDE2015 criteria: Lasso logistic regression, decision tree with gradient boosting (XGBoost), decision tree without gradient boosting, and a model combining predictions of these (ensemble learning). All models used the same features that also constitute the MDE2015 criteria. The final diagnosis of PVE, based on endocarditis team consensus using all available clinical information, including surgical findings whenever performed, and with at least 1 year follow up, was used as the composite gold standard.

Results: The diagnostic performance of the MDE2015 criteria varied depending on how the category of ‘possible’ PVE cases were handled. Considering these cases as positive for PVE, sensitivity and specificity were 0.96 and 0.60, respectively. Whereas treating these cases as negative, sensitivity and specificity were 0.74 and 0.98, respectively. Combining the approaches of considering possible endocarditis as positive and as negative for ROC-analysis resulted in an excellent AUC of 0.917. For the machine learning models, the sensitivity and specificity were as follows: logistic regression, 0.92 and 0.85; XGBoost, 0.90 and 0.85; decision trees, 0.88 and 0.86; and ensemble learning, 0.91 and 0.85, respectively. The resulting AUCs were, in the same order: 0.938, 0.937, 0.930, and 0.941, respectively.

Discussion: In this proof-of-concept study, machine learning algorithms achieved improved diagnostic performance compared to the major/minor weighing system as used in the MDE2015 criteria. Moreover, these models provide quantifiable certainty levels of the diagnosis, potentially enhancing interpretability for clinicians. Additionally, they allow for easy incorporation of new and/or refined criteria, such as the individual weight of advanced imaging modalities such as CTA or [18F]FDG PET/CT. These promising preliminary findings warrant further studies for validation, ideally in a prospective cohort encompassing the full spectrum of patients with suspected IE.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21-Jun-2024


  • Endocarditis
  • Machine learning
  • Modified Duke/ESC 2015 criteria


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