Development and validation of machine learning-based clinical decision support tool for identifying malnutrition in NICU patients

Yalçın N., Kaşıkcı M., Çelik H. T., Demirkan K., Yiğit Ş., Yurdakök M.

Scientific Reports, vol.13, no.1, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-023-32570-z
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Hospitalized newborns have an increased risk of malnutrition and, especially preterm infants, often experience malnutrition-related extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR). The aim of this study was to predict the discharge weight and the presence of weight gain at discharge with machine learning (ML) algorithms. The demographic and clinical parameters were used to develop the models using fivefold cross-validation in the software-R with a neonatal nutritional screening tool (NNST). A total of 512 NICU patients were prospectively included in the study. Length of hospital stay (LOS), parenteral nutrition treatment (PN), postnatal age (PNA), surgery, and sodium were the most important variables in predicting the presence of weight gain at discharge with a random forest classification (AUROC:0.847). The AUROC of NNST-Plus, which was improved by adding LOS, PN, PNA, surgery, and sodium to NNST, increased by 16.5%. In addition, weight at admission, LOS, gestation-adjusted age at admission (> 40 weeks), sex, gestational age, birth weight, PNA, SGA, complications of labor and delivery, multiple birth, serum creatinine, and PN treatment were the most important variables in predicting discharge weight with an elastic net regression (R2 = 0.748). This is the first study on the early prediction of EUGR with promising clinical performance based on ML algorithms. It is estimated that the incidence of EUGR can be improved with the implementation of this ML-based web tool ( in clinical practice.