Automatic identification of heart failure diagnostic criteria, using text analysis of clinical notes from electronic health records

Roy J. Byrd, Steven R. Steinhubl, Jimeng Sun, Shahram Ebadollahi, Walter F. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Early detection of Heart Failure (HF) could mitigate the enormous individual and societal burden from this disease. Clinical detection is based, in part, on recognition of the multiple signs and symptoms comprising the Framingham HF diagnostic criteria that are typically documented, but not necessarily synthesized, by primary care physicians well before more specific diagnostic studies are done. We developed a natural language processing (NLP) procedure to identify Framingham HF signs and symptoms among primary care patients, using electronic health record (EHR) clinical notes, as a prelude to pattern analysis and clinical decision support for early detection of HF. Design: We developed a hybrid NLP pipeline that performs two levels of analysis: (1) At the criteria mention level, a rule-based NLP system is constructed to annotate all affirmative and negative mentions of Framingham criteria. (2) At the encounter level, we construct a system to label encounters according to whether any Framingham criterion is asserted, denied, or unknown. Measurements: Precision, recall, and F-score are used as performance metrics for criteria mention extraction and for encounter labeling. Results: Our criteria mention extractions achieve a precision of 0.925, a recall of 0.896, and an F-score of 0.910. Encounter labeling achieves an F-score of 0.932. Conclusion: Our system accurately identifies and labels affirmations and denials of Framingham diagnostic criteria in primary care clinical notes and may help in the attempt to improve the early detection of HF. With adaptation and tooling, our development methodology can be repeated in new problem settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-992
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Electronic health records
  • Heart failure
  • Natural language processing
  • Text mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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