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This article is the author's final published version in Global Spine Journal, Volume 14, Issue 1_suppl, February 2024, Pages 56S - 61S.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2023


STUDY DESIGN: Predictive algorithm via decision tree.

OBJECTIVES: Artificial intelligence (AI) remain an emerging field and have not previously been used to guide therapeutic decision making in thoracolumbar burst fractures. Building such models may reduce the variability in treatment recommendations. The goal of this study was to build a mathematical prediction rule based upon radiographic variables to guide treatment decisions.

METHODS: Twenty-two surgeons from the AO Knowledge Forum Trauma reviewed 183 cases from the Spine TL A3/A4 prospective study (classification, degree of certainty of posterior ligamentous complex (PLC) injury, use of M1 modifier, degree of comminution, treatment recommendation). Reviewers' regions were classified as Europe, North/South America and Asia. Classification and regression trees were used to create models that would predict the treatment recommendation based upon radiographic variables. We applied the decision tree model which accounts for the possibility of non-normal distributions of data. Cross-validation technique as used to validate the multivariable analyses.

RESULTS: The accuracy of the model was excellent at 82.4%. Variables included in the algorithm were certainty of PLC injury (%), degree of comminution (%), the use of M1 modifier and geographical regions. The algorithm showed that if a patient has a certainty of PLC injury over 57.5%, then there is a 97.0% chance of receiving surgery. If certainty of PLC injury was low and comminution was above 37.5%, a patient had 74.2% chance of receiving surgery in Europe and Asia vs 22.7% chance in North/South America. Throughout the algorithm, the use of the M1 modifier increased the probability of receiving surgery by 21.4% on average.

CONCLUSION: This study presents a predictive analytic algorithm to guide decision-making in the treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures without neurological deficits. PLC injury assessment over 57.5% was highly predictive of receiving surgery (97.0%). A high degree of comminution resulted in a higher chance of receiving surgery in Europe or Asia vs North/South America. Future studies could include clinical and other variables to enhance predictive ability or use machine learning for outcomes prediction in thoracolumbar burst fractures.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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