Transfer Learning Improving Predictive Mortality Models for Patients in End-Stage Renal Disease

Edwar Macias*, Jose Lopez Vicario, Javier Serrano, Jose Ibeas, Antoni Morell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Deep learning is becoming a fundamental piece in the paradigm shift from evidence-based to data-based medicine. However, its learning capacity is rarely exploited when working with small data sets. Through transfer learning (TL), information from a source domain is transferred to a target one to enhance a learning task in such domain. The proposed TL mechanisms are based on sample and feature space augmentation. Thus, deep autoencoders extract complex representations for the data in the TL approach. Their latent representations, the so-called codes, are handled to transfer information among domains. The transfer of samples is carried out by computing a latent space mapping matrix that links codes from both domains for later reconstruction. The feature space augmentation is based on the computation of the average of the most similar codes from one domain. Such an average augments the features in a target domain. The proposed framework is evaluated in the prediction of mortality in patients in end-stage renal disease, transferring information related to the mortality of patients with acute kidney injury from the massive database MIMIC-III. Compared to other TL mechanisms, the proposed approach improves 6–11% in previous mortality predictive models. The integration of TL approaches into learning tasks in pathologies with data volume issues could encourage the use of data-based medicine in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1447
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022


  • deep learning
  • mortality prediction
  • transfer learning


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