A joint latent class model for classifying severely hemorrhaging trauma patients Emergency Medicine

Mohammad H. Rahbar, Jing Ning, Sangbum Choi, Jin Piao, Chuan Hong, Hanwen Huang, Deborah J. Del Junco, Erin E. Fox, Elaheh Rahbar, John B. Holcomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In trauma research, "massive transfusion" (MT), historically defined as receiving =10 units of red blood cells (RBCs) within 24 h of admission, has been routinely used as a "gold standard" for quantifying bleeding severity. Due to early in-hospital mortality, however, MT is subject to survivor bias and thus a poorly defined criterion to classify bleeding trauma patients. Methods: Using the data from a retrospective trauma transfusion study, we applied a latent-class (LC) mixture model to identify severely hemorrhaging (SH) patients. Based on the joint distribution of cumulative units of RBCs and binary survival outcome at 24 h of admission, we applied an expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm to obtain model parameters. Estimated posterior probabilities were used for patients' classification and compared with the MT rule. To evaluate predictive performance of the LC-based classification, we examined the role of six clinical variables as predictors using two separate logistic regression models. Results: Out of 471 trauma patients, 211 (45 %) were MT, while our latent SH classifier identified only 127 (27 %) of patients as SH. The agreement between the two classification methods was 73 %. A non-ignorable portion of patients (17 out of 68, 25 %) who died within 24 h were not classified as MT but the SH group included 62 patients (91 %) who died during the same period. Our comparison of the predictive models based on MT and SH revealed significant differences between the coefficients of potential predictors of patients who may be in need of activation of the massive transfusion protocol. Conclusions: The traditional MT classification does not adequately reflect transfusion practices and outcomes during the trauma reception and initial resuscitation phase. Although we have demonstrated that joint latent class modeling could be used to correct for potential bias caused by misclassification of severely bleeding patients, improvement in this approach could be made in the presence of time to event data from prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number602
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 24
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI; R21 HL109479), awarded to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H). We also acknowledge the support provided by the Biostatistics/Epidemiology/Research Design (BERD) component of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) for this project. CCTS is mainly funded by the NIH Centers for Translational Science Award (NIH CTSA) grant (UL1 RR024148), awarded to UTHSC-H in 2006 by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and its renewal (UL1 TR000371) by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NHLBI or the NCRR or the NCATS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Rahbar et al.


  • Induced censoring
  • Joint model
  • Latent variable
  • Massive transfusion
  • Mixture
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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