van der Schaar Lab

Paper on COVID-19 between-centre mortality accepted for publication in Intensive Care Medicine

A paper co-authored by Zhaozhi Qian, Ahmed Alaa, and Mihaela van der Schaar has been accepted for publication in Intensive Care Medicine (editor-in-chief: Giuseppe Citerio, M. D.). Dr. Ari Ercole from the University of Cambridge’s Division of Anaesthesia collaborated on the paper.

Using hospitalization data from England, the paper explores a variety of risk predictors associated with ICU outcome for COVID-19 patients. The key outcome of this research, however, is the striking and concerning degree of between-centre variation in outcome, the cause of which is unknown. Hazard ratio variation between sites is found to be comparable in magnitude to the strongest predictor (age), meaning that a patient’s place of treatment may potentially have as significant an impact on survival as any other single factor.

The authors note that these findings motivate urgent comparative effectiveness research to characterise between-centre differences to inform surge best-practice in both in England and elsewhere.

Title: “Between-centre differences for COVID-19 ICU mortality from early data in England”

Date accepted: May 28, 2020

Abstract

The high numbers of COVID-19 patients developing severe respiratory failure has placed exceptional demands on ICU capacity around the world. Understanding the determinants of ICU mortality is important for surge planning and shared decision making. We used early data from the COVID-19 Hospitalisation in England Surveillance System (from the start of data collection 8th February -22nd May 2020) to look for factors associated with ICU outcome in the hope that information from such timely analysis may be actionable before the outbreak peak. Immunosuppressive disease, chronic cardiorespiratory/renal disease and age were key determinants of ICU mortality in a proportional hazards mixed effects model. However variation in site-stratified random effects were comparable in magnitude suggesting substantial between-centre variability in mortality. Notwithstanding possible ascertainment and lead-time effects, these early results motivate comparative effectiveness research to understand the origin of such differences and optimise surge ICU provision.

For a full list of the van der Schaar Lab’s publications, click here.

To find out more about the van der Schaar Lab’s work related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our dedicated page here.

Zhaozhi Qian

Zhaozhi Qian

After obtaining a MSc in Machine Learning at UCL, Zhaozhi Qian started his career as a data scientist in the largest mobile gaming company in Europe. Three years later, he found it might be more fulfilling to apply AI to cure cancer than to make the gamers hit the purchase button 1% more often.

He thus joined the group in 2019 as a PhD student focusing on robust and interpretable learning for longitudinal data. So far, his work has included inferring latent disease interaction networks from Electronic Health Records, uncovering the causal structure between events that unfold over time, and calibrating the predictive uncertainty under domain shift.

Zhaozhi also worked as a contractor in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic contributing his analytical skills to the national response to the pandemic.

Ahmed Alaa

Ahmed Alaa

Ahmed M. Alaa is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the ECE Department, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and an affiliated Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge.

His primary research focus has been on causal inference, automated machine learning, uncertainty quantification and time-series analysis.

He has published papers in several leading machine learning conferences including NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR and AISTATS.

Mihaela van der Schaar

Mihaela van der Schaar

Mihaela van der Schaar is the John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute in London, and a Chancellor’s Professor at UCLA.

Mihaela has received numerous awards, including the Oon Prize on Preventative Medicine from the University of Cambridge (2018), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2004), 3 IBM Faculty Awards, the IBM Exploratory Stream Analytics Innovation Award, the Philips Make a Difference Award and several best paper awards, including the IEEE Darlington Award.

In 2019, she was identified by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts as the most-cited female AI researcher in the UK. She was also elected as a 2019 “Star in Computer Networking and Communications” by N²Women. Her research expertise span signal and image processing, communication networks, network science, multimedia, game theory, distributed systems, machine learning and AI.

Mihaela’s research focus is on machine learning, AI and operations research for healthcare and medicine.

Nick Maxfield

Nick Maxfield

Nick oversees the van der Schaar Lab’s communications, including media relations, content creation, and maintenance of the lab’s online presence.

Nick studied Japanese (BA Hons.) at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2012. Nick previously worked in HQ communications roles at Toyota (2013-2016) and Nissan (2016-2020).

Given his humanities/languages background and experience in communications, Nick is well-positioned to highlight and explain the real-world impact of research that can often be quite esoteric. Thankfully, he is comfortable asking almost endless questions in order to understand a topic.