Validation of a diagnostic support system for diabetic retinopathy based on clinical parameters Articles uri icon


  • Romero-Aroca, Pedro
  • Verges-Pujol, Raquel
  • Santos-Blanco, Esther
  • Maarof, Najlaa
  • Valls, Aida
  • Mundet, Xavier
  • Moreno, Antonio
  • Baget-Bernaldiz, Marc

publication date

  • March 2021

start page

  • 17


  • 3


  • 10

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2164-2591


  • Purpose: To validate a clinical decision support system (CDSS) that estimates risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and to personalize screening protocols in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients. Methods: We utilized a CDSS based on a fuzzy random forest, integrated by fuzzy decision trees with the following variables: Current age, sex, arterial hypertension, diabetes duration and treatment, HbA1c, glomerular filtration rate, microalbuminuria, and body mass index. Validation was made using the electronic health records of a sample of 101,802 T2DM patients. Diagnosis was made by retinal photographs, according to EURODIAB guidelines and the International Diabetic Retinopathy Classification. Results: The prevalence of DR was 19,759 patients (19.98%). Results yielded 16,593 (16.31%) true positives, 72,617 (71.33%) true negatives, 3165 (3.1%) false positives, and 9427 (9.26%) false negatives, with an accuracy of 0.876 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.858¿0.886), sensitivity of 84% (95% CI, 83.46¿84.49), specificity of 88.5% (95% CI, 88.29¿88.72), positive predictive value of 63.8% (95% CI, 63.18¿64.35), negative predictive value of 95.8% (95% CI, 95.68¿95.96), positive likelihood ratio of 7.30, and negative likelihood ratio of 0.18. The type 1 error was 0.115, and the type 2 error was 0.16. Conclusions:We confirmed a good prediction rate for DR froma representative sample of T2DM in our population. Furthermore, the CDSS was able to offer an individualized screening protocol for each patient according to the calculated risk confidence value. Translational Relevance: Results from this study will help to establish a novel strategy for personalizing screening for DR according to patient risk factors.


  • Computer Science
  • Medicine
  • Telecommunications


  • clinical decision support system; diabetic retinopathy; epidemiology; fuzzy rules; random forest; screening