A Machine Learning Algorithm Outperforms Traditional Multiple Regression to Predict Risk of Unplanned Overnight Stay Following Outpatient Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Reconstruction

Chimere O. Ezuma, Yining Lu, Ayoosh Pareek, Ryan Wilbur, Aaron J. Krych, Brian Forsythe, Christopher L. Camp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine whether conventional logistic regression or machine learning algorithms were more precise in identifying the risk factors for unplanned overnight admission after medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction. Methods: A retrospective review of the prospectively collected National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was performed to identify patients who underwent outpatient MPFL reconstruction from 2006–2018. Patients admitted overnight were identified as those with length of stay of 1 or more days. Models were generated using random forest, extreme gradient boosting, adaptive boosting, or elastic net penalized logistic regression, and an additional model was produced as a weighted ensemble of the 4 final algorithms. The predictive capacity of these models was compared to that of logistic regression. Results: Of the 1307 patients identified, 221 (16.9%) required at least one overnight stay after MPFL reconstruction. Multivariate logistic regression found the following variables to be predictors of inpatient admission: age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.03 [95% confidence interval {CI} 1.02-1.04]; P <.001), spinal anesthesia (OR = 3.42 [95% CI 1.98-6.08]; P < .001), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class 3/4 (OR = 1.96 [95% CI 1.25-3.06]; P < .001), history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (OR = 6.44 [95% CI 1.58-26.17]; P = .02), and body mass index (BMI) (OR = 1.03 [95% CI 1.01-1.05]; P < .001). The ensemble model achieved the best performance based on discrimination assessed via internal validation (area under the curve = 0.722). The variables determined most important by the ensemble model were increasing BMI, increasing age, ASA class, anesthesia, smoking, hypertension, lateral release, and history of COPD. Conclusions: An internally validated machine learning algorithm outperformed logistic regression modeling in predicting the need for unplanned overnight hospitalization after MPFL reconstruction. In this model, the most significant risk factors for admission were age, BMI, ASA class, smoking status, hypertension, lateral release, and history of COPD. This tool can be deployed to augment provider assessment to identify high-risk candidates and appropriately set postoperative expectations for patients. Clinical Relevance: Identifying and mitigating patient risk factors to prevent adverse surgical outcomes and hospitalizations is one of our primary goals. There may be a key role for machine learning algorithms to help successfully and efficiently risk stratify patients to decrease costs, appropriately set postoperative expectations, and increase the quality of delivered care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1103-e1110
JournalArthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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