Prediction of mortality from 12-lead electrocardiogram voltage data using a deep neural network

Sushravya Raghunath, Alvaro E. Ulloa Cerna, Linyuan Jing, David P. vanMaanen, Joshua Stough, Dustin N. Hartzel, Joseph B. Leader, H. Lester Kirchner, Martin C. Stumpe, Ashraf Hafez, Arun Nemani, Tanner Carbonati, Kipp W. Johnson, Katelyn Young, Christopher W. Good, John M. Pfeifer, Aalpen A. Patel, Brian P. Delisle, Amro Alsaid, Dominik BeerChristopher M. Haggerty, Brandon K. Fornwalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a widely used medical test, consisting of voltage versus time traces collected from surface recordings over the heart1. Here we hypothesized that a deep neural network (DNN) can predict an important future clinical event, 1-year all-cause mortality, from ECG voltage–time traces. By using ECGs collected over a 34-year period in a large regional health system, we trained a DNN with 1,169,662 12-lead resting ECGs obtained from 253,397 patients, in which 99,371 events occurred. The model achieved an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.88 on a held-out test set of 168,914 patients, in which 14,207 events occurred. Even within the large subset of patients (n = 45,285) with ECGs interpreted as ‘normal’ by a physician, the performance of the model in predicting 1-year mortality remained high (AUC = 0.85). A blinded survey of cardiologists demonstrated that many of the discriminating features of these normal ECGs were not apparent to expert reviewers. Finally, a Cox proportional-hazard model revealed a hazard ratio of 9.5 (P < 0.005) for the two predicted groups (dead versus alive 1 year after ECG) over a 25-year follow-up period. These results show that deep learning can add substantial prognostic information to the interpretation of 12-lead resting ECGs, even in cases that are interpreted as normal by physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-891
Number of pages6
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Prediction of mortality from 12-lead electrocardiogram voltage data using a deep neural network'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this