Multilevel temporal Bayesian networks can model longitudinal change in multimorbidity
SourceJournal of Clinical Epidemiology, 66, 12, (2013), pp. 1405-1416
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Clinical Epidemiology
SubjectNCEBP 11: Alzheimer Centre; Software Science
OBJECTIVES: Although the course of single diseases can be studied using traditional epidemiologic techniques, these methods cannot capture the complex joint evolutionary course of multiple disorders. In this study, multilevel temporal Bayesian networks were adopted to study the course of multimorbidity in the expectation that this would yield new clinical insight. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Clinical data of patients were extracted from 90 general practice registries in the Netherlands. One and half million patient-years were used for analysis. The simultaneous progression of six chronic cardiovascular conditions was investigated, correcting for both patient and practice-related variables. RESULTS: Cumulative incidence rates of one or more new morbidities rapidly increase with the number of morbidities present at baseline, ranging up to 47% and 76% for 3- and 5-year follow-ups, respectively. Hypertension and lipid disorders, as health risk factors, increase the cumulative incidence rates of both individual and multiple disorders. Moreover, in their presence, the observed cumulative incidence rates of combinations of cardiovascular disorders, that is, multimorbidity differs significantly from the expected rates. CONCLUSION: There are clear synergies between health risks and chronic diseases when multimorbidity within a patient progresses over time. The method used here supports a more comprehensive analysis of such synergies compared with what can be obtained by traditional statistics.
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