The development and internal validation of a multivariable model predicting 6-month mortality for people with opioid use disorder presenting to community drug services in England: a protocol

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Abstract

Background
People with opioid use disorder have substantially higher standardised mortality rates compared to the general population; however, lack of clear individual prognostic information presents challenges to prioritise or target interventions within drug treatment services. Previous prognostic models have been developed to estimate the risk of developing opioid use disorder and opioid-related overdose in people routinely prescribed opioids but, to our knowledge, none have been developed to estimate mortality risk in people accessing drug services with opioid use disorder. Initial presentation to drug services is a pragmatic time to evaluate mortality risk given the contemporaneous routine collection of prognostic indicators and as a decision point for appropriate service prioritisation and targeted intervention delivery. This study aims to develop and internally validate a model to estimate 6-month mortality risk for people with opioid use disorder from prognostic indicators recorded at initial assessment in drug services in England.

Methods
An English national dataset containing records from individuals presenting to drug services between 1 April 2013 and 1 April 2023 (n > 800,000) (the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS)) linked to their lifetime hospitalisation and death records (Hospital Episode Statistics-Office of National Statistics (HES-ONS)). Twelve candidate prognostic indicator variables were identified based on literature review of demographic and clinical features associated with increased mortality for people in treatment for opioid use disorder. Variables will be extracted at initial presentation to drug services with mortality measured at 6 months. Two multivariable Cox regression models will be developed one for 6-month all-cause mortality and one for 6-month drug-related mortality using backward elimination with a fractional polynomial approach for continuous variables. Internal validation will be undertaken using bootstrapping methods. Discrimination of both models will be reported using Harrel’s c and d-statistics. Calibration curves and slopes will be presented comparing expected and observed event rates.

Discussion
The models developed and internally validated in this study aim to improve clinical assessment of mortality risk for people with opioid use disorder presenting to drug services in England. External validation in different populations will be required to develop the model into a tool to assist future clinical decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiagnostic and prognostic research
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2024

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