Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: The introduction of new clinical risk scores (e.g. European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation (EuroSCORE) II) superseding original scores (e.g. EuroSCORE I) with different variable sets typically result in disparate datasets due to high levels of missingness for new score variables prior to time of adoption. Little is known about the use of ensemble learning to incorporate disparate data from legacy scores. We tested the hypothesised that Homogenenous and Heterogeneous Machine Learning (ML) ensembles will have better performance than ensembles of Dynamic Model Averaging (DMA) for combining knowledge from EuroSCORE I legacy data with EuroSCORE II data to predict cardiac surgery risk. METHODS: Using the National Adult Cardiac Surgery Audit dataset, we trained 12 different base learner models, based on two different variable sets from either EuroSCORE I (LogES) or EuroScore II (ES II), partitioned by the time of score adoption (1996-2016 or 2012-2016) and evaluated on holdout set (2017-2019). These base learner models were ensembled using nine different combinations of six ML algorithms to produce homogeneous or heterogeneous ensembles. Performance was assessed using a consensus metric. RESULTS: Xgboost homogenous ensemble (HE) was the highest performing model (clinical effectiveness metric (CEM) 0.725) with area under the curve (AUC) (0.8327; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8323-0.8329) followed by Random Forest HE (CEM 0.723; AUC 0.8325; 95%CI 0.8320-0.8326). Across different heterogenous ensembles, significantly better performance was obtained by combining siloed datasets across time (CEM 0.720) than building ensembles of either 1996-2011 (t-test adjusted, p = 1.67×10-6) or 2012-2019 (t-test adjusted, p = 1.35×10-193) datasets alone. CONCLUSIONS: Both homogenous and heterogenous ML ensembles performed significantly better than DMA ensemble of Bayesian Update models. Time-dependent ensemble combination of variables, having differing qualities according to time of score adoption, enabled previously siloed data to be combined, leading to increased power, clinical interpretability of variables and usage of data.

Original publication




Journal article


Digit health

Publication Date





Cardiac surgery, dynamic model averaging, ensemble learning, legacy scores, machine learning, mortality, multi-modal data, risk prediction