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Kenya heel prick and cord blood sample data

Cite this dataset

Hawken, Steven (2022). Kenya heel prick and cord blood sample data [Dataset]. Dryad.


Using data from Ontario Canada, we previously developed machine learning-based algorithms incorporating newborn screening metabolites to estimate gestational age (GA). The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of these algorithms in a population of infants born in Siaya county, Kenya. 

Cord and heel prick samples were collected from newborns in Kenya and metabolic analysis was carried out by Newborn Screening Ontario in Ottawa, Canada. Postnatal GA estimation models were developed with data from Ontario with multivariable linear regression using ELASTIC NET regularization. Model performance was evaluated by applying the models to the data collected from Kenya and comparing model-derived estimates of GA to reference estimates from early pregnancy ultrasound. 

Heel prick samples were collected from 1,039 newborns from Kenya. Of these, 8.9% were born preterm and 8.5% were small for GA. Cord blood samples were also collected from 1,012 newborns. In data from heel prick samples, our best-performing model estimated GA within 9.5 days overall of reference GA [mean absolute error (MAE) 1.35 (95% CI 1.27, 1.43)]. In preterm infants and those small for GA, MAE was 2.62 (2.28, 2.99) and 1.81 (1.57, 2.07) weeks, respectively. In data from cord blood, model accuracy slightly decreased overall (MAE 1.44 (95% CI 1.36, 1.53)). Accuracy was not impacted by maternal HIV status and improved when the dating ultrasound occurred between 9 and 13 weeks of gestation, in both heel prick and cord blood data (overall MAE 1.04 (95% CI 0.87, 1.22) and 1.08 (95% CI 0.90, 1.27), respectively).

Compared to internal validation performance using Ontario data and to our previously published external validations, model performance was diminished in the Kenya cohort, suggesting that reference ultrasound timing is an important factor in model performance. Our study highlights the challenges in reliably estimating GA in low resource settings, even those with access to dating ultrasound, given that the timing of dating ultrasound is critical to develop algorithms for accurate estimation of GA based on metabolic analysis of blood obtained at birth.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation