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01.12.2019 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 1/2019

A machine-learning approach to predict postprandial hypoglycemia

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making > Ausgabe 1/2019
Wonju Seo, You-Bin Lee, Seunghyun Lee, Sang-Man Jin, Sung-Min Park
Wichtige Hinweise
Wonju Seo and You-Bin Lee are equal contributors.
Wonju Seo and You-Bin Lee contributed equally to this work.

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For an effective artificial pancreas (AP) system and an improved therapeutic intervention with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), predicting the occurrence of hypoglycemia accurately is very important. While there have been many studies reporting successful algorithms for predicting nocturnal hypoglycemia, predicting postprandial hypoglycemia still remains a challenge due to extreme glucose fluctuations that occur around mealtimes. The goal of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of easy-to-use, computationally efficient machine-learning algorithm to predict postprandial hypoglycemia with a unique feature set.


We use retrospective CGM datasets of 104 people who had experienced at least one hypoglycemia alert value during a three-day CGM session. The algorithms were developed based on four machine learning models with a unique data-driven feature set: a random forest (RF), a support vector machine using a linear function or a radial basis function, a K-nearest neighbor, and a logistic regression. With 5-fold cross-subject validation, the average performance of each model was calculated to compare and contrast their individual performance. The area under a receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the F1 score were used as the main criterion for evaluating the performance.


In predicting a hypoglycemia alert value with a 30-min prediction horizon, the RF model showed the best performance with the average AUC of 0.966, the average sensitivity of 89.6%, the average specificity of 91.3%, and the average F1 score of 0.543. In addition, the RF showed the better predictive performance for postprandial hypoglycemic events than other models.


In conclusion, we showed that machine-learning algorithms have potential in predicting postprandial hypoglycemia, and the RF model could be a better candidate for the further development of postprandial hypoglycemia prediction algorithm to advance the CGM technology and the AP technology further.
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