Interpretable Machine Learning Modeling for Ischemic Stroke Outcome Prediction

Mohamed Sobhi Jabal, Olivier Joly, David Kallmes, George Harston, Alejandro Rabinstein, Thien Huynh, Waleed Brinjikji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Mechanical thrombectomy greatly improves stroke outcomes. Nonetheless, some patients fall short of full recovery despite good reperfusion. The purpose of this study was to develop machine learning (ML) models for the pre-interventional prediction of functional outcome at 3 months of thrombectomy in acute ischemic stroke (AIS), using clinical and auto-extractable radiological information consistently available upon first emergency evaluation. Materials and Methods: A two-center retrospective cohort of 293 patients with AIS who underwent thrombectomy was analyzed. ML models were developed to predict dichotomized modified Rankin score at 90 days (mRS-90) using clinical and imaging features, both separately and combined. Conventional and experimental imaging biomarkers were quantified using automated image-processing software from non-contract computed tomography (CT) and computed tomography angiography (CTA). Shapley Additive Explanation (SHAP) was applied for model interpretability and predictor importance analysis of the optimal model. Results: Merging clinical and imaging features returned the best results for mRS-90 prediction. The best performing classifier was Extreme Gradient Boosting (XGB) with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 84% using selected features. The most important classifying features were age, baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), occlusion side, degree of brain atrophy [primarily represented by cortical cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume and lateral ventricle volume], early ischemic core [primarily represented by e-Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS)], and collateral circulation deficit volume on CTA. Conclusion: Machine learning that is applied to quantifiable image features from CT and CTA alongside basic clinical characteristics constitutes a promising automated method in the pre-interventional prediction of stroke prognosis. Interpretable models allow for exploring which initial features contribute the most to post-thrombectomy outcome prediction overall and for each individual patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number884693
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - May 19 2022


  • artificial intelligence
  • ischemic stroke
  • machine learning
  • prediction model
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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