A natural language processing tool for large-scale data extraction from echocardiography reports

Chinmoy Nath, Mazen S. Albaghdadi, Siddhartha R. Jonnalagadda

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Scopus citations


    Large volumes of data are continuously generated from clinical notes and diagnostic studies catalogued in electronic health records (EHRs). Echocardiography is one of the most commonly ordered diagnostic tests in cardiology. This study sought to explore the feasibility and reliability of using natural language processing (NLP) for large-scale and targeted extraction of multiple data elements from echocardiography reports. An NLP tool, EchoInfer, was developed to automatically extract data pertaining to cardiovascular structure and function from heterogeneously formatted echocardiographic data sources. EchoInfer was applied to echocardiography reports (2004 to 2013) available from 3 different on-going clinical research projects. EchoInfer analyzed 15,116 echocardiography reports from 1684 patients, and extracted 59 quantitative and 21 qualitative data elements per report. EchoInfer achieved a precision of 94.06%, a recall of 92.21%, and an F1-score of 93.12% across all 80 data elements in 50 reports. Physician review of 400 reports demonstrated that EchoInfer achieved a recall of 92-99.9% and a precision of >97% in four data elements, including three quantitative and one qualitative data element. Failure of EchoInfer to correctly identify or reject reported parameters was primarily related to non-standardized reporting of echocardiography data. EchoInfer provides a powerful and reliable NLP-based approach for the large-scale, targeted extraction of information from heterogeneous data sources. The use of EchoInfer may have implications for the clinical management and research analysis of patients undergoing echocardiographic evaluation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numbere0153749
    JournalPloS one
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Apr 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • General


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