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Title: Sepsis subphenotyping based on organ dysfunction trajectory
Abstract Background Sepsis is a heterogeneous syndrome, and the identification of clinical subphenotypes is essential. Although organ dysfunction is a defining element of sepsis, subphenotypes of differential trajectory are not well studied. We sought to identify distinct Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score trajectory-based subphenotypes in sepsis. Methods We created 72-h SOFA score trajectories in patients with sepsis from four diverse intensive care unit (ICU) cohorts. We then used dynamic time warping (DTW) to compute heterogeneous SOFA trajectory similarities and hierarchical agglomerative clustering (HAC) to identify trajectory-based subphenotypes. Patient characteristics were compared between subphenotypes and a random forest model was developed to predict subphenotype membership at 6 and 24 h after being admitted to the ICU. The model was tested on three validation cohorts. Sensitivity analyses were performed with alternative clustering methodologies. Results A total of 4678, 3665, 12,282, and 4804 unique sepsis patients were included in development and three validation cohorts, respectively. Four subphenotypes were identified in the development cohort: Rapidly Worsening ( n  = 612, 13.1%), Delayed Worsening ( n  = 960, 20.5%), Rapidly Improving ( n  = 1932, 41.3%), and Delayed Improving ( n  = 1174, 25.1%). Baseline characteristics, including the pattern of organ dysfunction, varied between subphenotypes. Rapidly Worsening was defined by a higher comorbidity burden, acidosis, and visceral organ dysfunction. Rapidly Improving was defined by vasopressor use without acidosis. Outcomes differed across the subphenotypes, Rapidly Worsening had the highest in-hospital mortality (28.3%, P -value < 0.001), despite a lower SOFA (mean: 4.5) at ICU admission compared to Rapidly Improving (mortality:5.5%, mean SOFA: 5.5). An overall prediction accuracy of 0.78 (95% CI, [0.77, 0.8]) was obtained at 6 h after ICU admission, which increased to 0.87 (95% CI, [0.86, 0.88]) at 24 h. Similar subphenotypes were replicated in three validation cohorts. The majority of patients with sepsis have an improving phenotype with a lower mortality risk; however, they make up over 20% of all deaths due to their larger numbers. Conclusions Four novel, clinically-defined, trajectory-based sepsis subphenotypes were identified and validated. Identifying trajectory-based subphenotypes has immediate implications for the powering and predictive enrichment of clinical trials. Understanding the pathophysiology of these differential trajectories may reveal unanticipated therapeutic targets and identify more precise populations and endpoints for clinical trials.  more » « less
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Critical Care
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National Science Foundation
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