Physiological closed-loop controlled (PCLC) medical devices are complex systems integrating one or more medical devices with a patient's physiology through closed-loop control algorithms; introducing many failure modes and parameters that impact performance. These control algorithms should be tested through safety and efficacy trials to compare their performance to the standard of care and determine whether there is sufficient evidence of safety for their use in real care setting. With this aim, credible mathematical models have been constructed and used throughout the development and evaluation phases of a PCLC medical device to support the engineering design and improve safety aspects. Uncertainties about the fidelity of these models and ambiguities about the choice of measures for modeling performance need to be addressed before a reliable PCLC evaluation can be achieved. This research develops tools for evaluating the accuracy of physiological models and establishes fundamental measures for predictive capability assessment across different physiological models. As a case study, we built a refined physiological model of blood volume (BV) response by expanding an original model we developed in our prior work. Using experimental data collected from 16 sheep undergoing hemorrhage and fluid resuscitation, first, we compared the calibration performance of the two candidate physiological models, i.e., original and refined, using root-mean-squared error (RMSE), Akiake information criterion (AIC), and a new multi-dimensional approach utilizing normalized features extracted from the fitting error. Compared to the original model, the refined model demonstrated a significant improvement in calibration performance in terms of RMSE (9%, P = 0.03) and multi-dimensional measure (48%, P = 0.02), while a comparable AIC between the two models verified that the enhanced calibration performance in the refined model is not due to data over-fitting. Second, we compared the physiological predictive capability of the two models under three different scenarios: Prediction of subject-specific steady-state BV response, subject-specific transient BV response to hemorrhage perturbation, and leave-one-out inter-subject BV response. Results indicated enhanced accuracy and predictive capability for the refined physiological model with significantly larger proportion of measurements that were within the prediction envelope in the transient and leave-one-out prediction scenarios (P < 0.02). All together, this study helps to identify and merge new methods for credibility assessment and physiological model selection, leading to a more efficient process for PCLC medical device evaluation.
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