Pooled individual patient data from five countries were used to derive a clinical prediction rule for coronary artery disease in primary care

Marc Aerts*, Girma Minalu, Stefan Boesner, Frank Buntinx, Bernard Burnand, Joerg Haasenritter, Lilli Herzig, J. Andre Knottnerus, Staffan Nilsson, Walter Renier, Carol Sox, Harold Sox, Norbert Donner-Banzhoff, Int Working Grp Chest Pain Primary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: To construct a clinical prediction rule for coronary artery disease (CAD) presenting with chest pain in primary care.

Study Design and Setting: Meta-Analysis using 3,099 patients from five studies. To identify candidate predictors, we used random forest trees, multiple imputation of missing values, and logistic regression within individual studies. To generate a prediction rule on the pooled data, we applied a regression model that took account of the differing standard data sets collected by the five studies.

Results: The most parsimonious rule included six equally weighted predictors: age >= 55 (males) or >= 65 (females) (+1); attending physician suspected a serious diagnosis (+1); history of CAD (+1); pain brought on by exertion (+1); pain feels like "pressure" (+1); pain reproducible by palpation (-1). CAD was considered absent if the prediction score is = 2, it was 43.0% (95% CI: 35.8-50.4%).

Conclusions: Clinical prediction rules are a key strategy for individualizing care. Large data sets based on electronic health records from diverse sites create opportunities for improving their internal and external validity. Our patient-level meta-analysis from five primary care sites should improve external validity. Our strategy for addressing site-to-site systematic variation in missing data should improve internal validity. Using principles derived from decision theory, we also discuss the problem of setting the cutoff prediction score for taking action. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Chest pain
  • Individual patient data meta-analysis
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Medical history taking
  • Symptom assessment
  • Primary health care
  • Sensitivity and specificity

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