A Deep Learning Approach for Dynamic Survival Analysis with Competing Risks

ICLR 2019  ·  Changhee Lee, Mihaela van der Schaar ·

Currently available survival analysis methods are limited in their ability to deal with complex, heterogeneous, and longitudinal data such as that available in primary care records, or in their ability to deal with multiple competing risks. This paper develops a novel deep learning architecture that flexibly incorporates the available longitudinal data comprising various repeated measurements (rather than only the last available measurements) in order to issue dynamically updated survival predictions for one or multiple competing risk(s). Unlike existing works in the survival analysis on the basis of longitudinal data, the proposed method learns the time-to-event distributions without specifying underlying stochastic assumptions of the longitudinal or the time-to-event processes. Thus, our method is able to learn associations between the longitudinal data and the various associated risks in a fully data-driven fashion. We demonstrate the power of our method by applying it to real-world longitudinal datasets and show a drastic improvement over state-of-the-art methods in discriminative performance. Furthermore, our analysis of the variable importance and dynamic survival predictions will yield a better understanding of the predicted risks which will result in more effective health care.

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