Machine Learning Algorithms for Predicting Outcomes of Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Document Type

Review Article

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Journal Title

Surgical Neurology International


BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The use of machine learning (ML) has emerged as a key advancement in TBI management. This study aimed to identify ML models with demonstrated effectiveness in predicting TBI outcomes.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic review in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis statement. In total, 15 articles were identified using the search strategy. Patient demographics, clinical status, ML outcome variables, and predictive characteristics were extracted. A small meta-analysis of mortality prediction was performed, and a meta-analysis of diagnostic accuracy was conducted for ML algorithms used across multiple studies.

RESULTS: ML algorithms including support vector machine (SVM), artificial neural networks (ANN), random forest, and Naïve Bayes were compared to logistic regression (LR). Thirteen studies found significant improvement in prognostic capability using ML versus LR. The accuracy of the above algorithms was consistently over 80% when predicting mortality and unfavorable outcome measured by Glasgow Outcome Scale. Receiver operating characteristic curves analyzing the sensitivity of ANN, SVM, decision tree, and LR demonstrated consistent findings across studies. Lower admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), older age, elevated serum acid, and abnormal glucose were associated with increased adverse outcomes and had the most significant impact on ML algorithms.

CONCLUSION: ML algorithms were stronger than traditional regression models in predicting adverse outcomes. Admission GCS, age, and serum metabolites all have strong predictive power when used with ML and should be considered important components of TBI risk stratification.