Automated hierarchy evaluation system of large vessel occlusion in acute ischemia stroke

Jia YOU, Anderson C. O. TSANG, Leung Ho Philip YU, Eva L. H. TSUI, Pauline P. S. WOO, Carrie S. M. LUI, Gilberto K. K. LEUNG

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The detection of large vessel occlusion (LVO) plays a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Identifying LVO in the pre-hospital setting or early stage of hospitalization would increase the patients' chance of receiving appropriate reperfusion therapy and thereby improve neurological recovery.

Methods: To enable rapid identification of LVO, we established an automated evaluation system based on all recorded AIS patients in Hong Kong Hospital Authority's hospitals in 2016. The 300 study samples were randomly selected based on a disproportionate sampling plan within the integrated electronic health record system, and then separated into a group of 200 patients for model training, and another group of 100 patients for model performance evaluation. The evaluation system contained three hierarchical models based on patients' demographic data, clinical data and non-contrast CT (NCCT) scans. The first two levels of modeling utilized structured demographic and clinical data, while the third level involved additional NCCT imaging features obtained from deep learning model. All three levels' modeling adopted multiple machine learning techniques, including logistic regression, random forest, support vector machine (SVM), and eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGboost). The optimal cut-off for the likelihood of LVO was determined by the maximal Youden index based on 10-fold cross-validation. Comparisons of performance on the testing group were made between these techniques.

Results: Among the 300 patients, there were 160 women and 140 men aged from 27 to 104 years (mean 76.0 with standard deviation 13.4). LVO was present in 130 (43.3%) patients. Together with clinical and imaging features, the XGBoost model at the third level of evaluation achieved the best model performance on testing group. The Youden index, accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, F1 score, and area under the curve (AUC) were 0.638, 0.800, 0.953, 0.684, 0.804, and 0.847, respectively.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study combining both structured clinical data with non-structured NCCT imaging data for the diagnosis of LVO in the acute setting, with superior performance compared to previously reported approaches. Our system is capable of automatically providing preliminary evaluations at different pre-hospital stages for potential AIS patients. Copyright © 2020 You, Tsang, Yu, Tsui, Woo, Lui and Leung.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalFrontiers in Neuroinformatics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


You, J., Tsang, A. C. O., Yu, P. L. H., Tsui, E. L. H., Woo, P. P. S., Lui, C. S. M., & Leung, G. K. K. (2020). Automated hierarchy evaluation system of large vessel occlusion in acute ischemia stroke. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, 14. Retrieved from


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Large vessel occlusion
  • Prognosis
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning


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