There are few comparative reports on the overall accuracy of neural networks (NN), assessed only versus multiple logistic regression (LR), to predict events in cardiovascular surgery studies and none has been performed among acute aortic dissection (AAD) Type A patients.


We aimed at investigating the predictive potential of 30-day mortality by a large series of risk factors in AAD Type A patients comparing the overall performance of NN versus LR.


We investigated 121 plus 87 AAD Type A patients consecutively operated during 7 years in two Centres. Forced and stepwise NN and LR solutions were obtained and compared, using receiver operating characteristic area under the curve (AUC) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) and Gini’s coefficients. Both NN and LR models were re-applied to data from the second Centre to adhere to a methodological imperative with NN.


Forced LR solutions provided AUC 87.9±4.1% (CI: 80.7 to 93.2%) and 85.7±5.2% (CI: 78.5 to 91.1%) in the first and second Centre, respectively. Stepwise NN solution of the first Centre had AUC 90.5±3.7% (CI: 83.8 to 95.1%). The Gini’s coefficients for LR and NN stepwise solutions of the first Centre were 0.712 and 0.816, respectively. When the LR and NN stepwise solutions were re-applied to the second Centre data, Gini’s coefficients were, respectively, 0.761 and 0.850. Few predictors were selected in common by LR and NN models: the presence of pre-operative shock, intubation and neurological symptoms, immediate post-operative presence of dialysis in continuous and the quantity of post-operative bleeding in the first 24 h. The length of extracorporeal circulation, post-operative chronic renal failure and the year of surgery were specifically detected by NN.


Different from the International Registry of AAD, operative and immediate post-operative factors were seen as potential predictors of short-term mortality. We report a higher overall predictive accuracy with NN than with LR. However, the list of potential risk factors to predict 30-day mortality after AAD Type A by NN model is not enlarged significantly.

Key Words:: Neural networks, logistic function, prediction, ascending aortic dissection, Type A, 30-day mortality..
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