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Kreuzthaler, M; Schulz, S.
Detection of sentence boundaries and abbreviations in clinical narratives.
BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2015; 15 Suppl 2(1):S4-S4 Doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-15-S2-S4 [OPEN ACCESS]
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Kreuzthaler Markus Eduard
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Schulz Stefan

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In Western languages the period character is highly ambiguous, due to its double role as sentence delimiter and abbreviation marker. This is particularly relevant in clinical free-texts characterized by numerous anomalies in spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and with a high frequency of short forms. The problem is addressed by two binary classifiers for abbreviation and sentence detection. A support vector machine exploiting a linear kernel is trained on different combinations of feature sets for each classification task. Feature relevance ranking is applied to investigate which features are important for the particular task. The methods are applied to German language texts from a medical record system, authored by specialized physicians. Two collections of 3,024 text snippets were annotated regarding the role of period characters for training and testing. Cohen's kappa resulted in 0.98. For abbreviation and sentence boundary detection we can report an unweighted micro-averaged F-measure using a 10-fold cross validation of 0.97 for the training set. For test set based evaluation we obtained an unweighted micro-averaged F-measure of 0.95 for abbreviation detection and 0.94 for sentence delineation. Language-dependent resources and rules were found to have less impact on abbreviation detection than on sentence delineation. Sentence detection is an important task, which should be performed at the beginning of a text processing pipeline. For the text genre under scrutiny we showed that support vector machines exploiting a linear kernel produce state of the art results for sentence boundary detection. The results are comparable with other sentence boundary detection methods applied to English clinical texts. We identified abbreviation detection as a supportive task for sentence delineation.
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