Bayesian networks and decision trees in the diagnosis of female urinary incontinence

Miranda Hunt, Brian Von Konsky, Svetha Venkatesh, Peter Petros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares the effectiveness of Bayesian networks versus Decision Trees in modeling the Integral Theory of Female Urinary Incontinence diagnostic algorithm. Bayesian networks and Decision Trees were developed and trained using data from 58 adult women presenting with urinary incontinence symptoms. A Bayesian Network was developed in collaboration with an expert specialist who regularly utilizes a non-automated diagnostic algorithm in clinical practice. The original Bayesian network was later refined using a more connected approach. Diagnoses determined from all automated approaches were compared with the diagnoses of a single human expert. In most cases, Bayesian networks were found to be at least as accurate as the Decision Tree approach. The refined Connected Bayesian Network was found to be more accurate than the Original Bayesian Network accurately discriminated between diagnoses despite the small sample size. In contrast, the Connected and Decision Tree approaches were less able to discriminate between diagnoses. The Original Bayesian Network was found to provide an excellent basis for graphically communicating the correlation between symptoms and laxity defects in a given anatomical zone. Performance measures in both networks indicate that Bayesian networks could provide a potentially useful tool in the management of female pelvic floor dysfunction. Before the technique can be utilized in practice, well-established learning algorithms should be applied to improve network structure. A larger training data set should also improve network accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-554
Number of pages4
JournalAnnual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology - Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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