ds.lexis {dsBaseClient}R Documentation

Represents follow-up in multiple states on multiple time scales


This function takes a data frame containing survival data and expands it by converting records at the level of individual subjects (survival time, censoring status, IDs and other variables) into multiple records over a series of pre-defined time intervals.


  data = NULL,
  intervalWidth = NULL,
  idCol = NULL,
  entryCol = NULL,
  exitCol = NULL,
  statusCol = NULL,
  variables = NULL,
  expandDF = NULL,
  datasources = NULL



a character string specifying the name of a data frame containing the survival data to be expanded.


a numeric vector specifying the length of each interval. For more information see Details.


a character string denoting the column name that holds the individual IDs of the subjects. For more information see Details.


a character string denoting the column name that holds the entry times (i.e. start of follow up). For more information see Details.


a character string denoting the column name that holds the exit times (i.e. end of follow up). For more information see Details.


a character string denoting the column name that holds the failure/censoring status of each subject. For more information see Details.


a vector of character strings denoting the column names of additional variables to include in the final expanded table. For more information see Details.


a character string denoting the name of the new data frame containing the expanded data set. Default lexis.newobj.


a list of DSConnection-class objects obtained after login. If the datasources argument is not specified the default set of connections will be used: see datashield.connections_default.


The function ds.lexis splits the survival interval time of subjects into pre-specified sub-intervals that are each assumed to encompass a constant base-line hazard which means a constant instantaneous risk of death). In the expanded dataset a row is included for every interval in which a given individual is followed - regardless of how short or long that period may be. Each row includes:
(1) CENSOR: a variable indicating failure status for a particular interval in that interval also known as censoring status. This variable can take two values: 1 representing that the patient has died, relapsed or developed a disease. 0 representing the lost-to-follow-up or passed right through the interval without failing.
(2) SURVTIME an exposure-time variable indicating the duration of exposure-to-risk-of-failure the corresponding individual experienced in that interval before he/she failed or was censored.

To illustrate, an individual who survives through 5 such intervals and then dies/fails in the 6th interval will be allocated a 0 value for the failure status/censoring variable in the first five intervals and a 1 value in the 6th, while the exposure-time variable will be equal to the total length of the relevant interval in each of the first five intervals, and the additional length of time they survived in the sixth interval before they failed or were censored. If they survive through the first interval and they are censored in the second interval, the failure-status variable will take the value 0 in both intervals.
(3) UID.expanded the expanded data set also includes a unique ID in a form such as 77.13 which identifies that row of the dataset as relating to the 77th individual in the input data set and his/her experience (exposure-time and failure status)in the 14th interval. Note that .N indicates the (N+1)th interval because interval 1 has no suffix.
(4) IDSEQ the first part of UID.expanded (before the '.'). The value of this variable is repeated in every row to which the corresponding individual contributes data (i.e. to every row corresponding to an interval in which that individual was followed).
(5) The expanded dataset contains any other variables about each individual that the user would like to carry forward to a survival analysis based on the expanded data. Typically, this will include the original ID as specified to the data repository, the total survival time (equivalent to the sum of the exposure times across all intervals) and the ultimate failure-status in the final interval to which they were exposed. The value of each of these variables is also repeated in every row corresponding to an interval in which that individual was followed.

In intervalWidth argument if the total sum of the duration across all intervals is less than the maximum follow-up of any individual in any contributing study, a final interval will be added by ds.lexis extending from the end of the last interval specified to the maximum follow-up time. If a single numeric value is specified rather than a vector, ds.lexis will keep adding intervals of the length specified until the maximum follow-up time in any single study is exceeded. This argument is subject to disclosure checks.

The idCol argument must be a numeric or character. Note that when a particular variable is identified as being the main ID to the data repository when the data are first transferred to the data repository (i.e. before DataSHIELD is used), that ID often ends up being of class character and will then be sorted in alphabetic order (treating each digit as a character) rather than numeric. For example, containing the sequential IDs 1-1000, the order of the IDs will be:
1,10,100,101,102,103,104,105,106,107,108,109,11 ...
In an alphabetic listing: NOT to the expected order:
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 ...

This alphabetic order or the ID listing will then carry forward to the expanded dataset. But the nature and order of the original ID variable held in idCol doesn't matter to ds.lexis. Provided every individual appears only once in the original data set (before expansion) the order does not matter because ds.lexis works on its unique numeric vector that is allocated from 1:M (where there are M individuals) in whatever order they appear in the original dataset.

in entryCol argument rather than using a total survival time variable to identify the intervals to which any given individual is exposed, ds.lexis requires an initial entry time and a final exit time. If the data you wish to expand contain only a total survival time variable and every individual starts follow-up at time 0, the entry times should all be specified as zero, and the exit times as the total survival time. So, entryCol should either be the name of the column holding the entry time of each individual or else if no entryCol is specified it will be defaulted to zero anyway and put into a variable called starttime in the expanded data set.

In exitCol argument, if the entry times (entryCol) are set, or defaulted, to zero, the exitCol variable should contain the total survival times.

If variables argument is not set (is null) but the data argument is set, the expanded data set will contain all variables in the data frame identified by the data argument. If neither the data or variables arguments are set, the expanded data set will only include the ID, exposure time and failure/censoring status variables which may still be useful for plotting survival data once these become available.

This function is particularly meant to be used in preparing data for a piecewise regression analysis (PAR). Although the time intervals have to be pre-specified and are arbitrary, even a vaguely reasonable set of time intervals will give results very similar to a Cox regression analysis. The key issue is to choose survival intervals such that the baseline hazard (risk of death/disease/failure) within each interval is reasonably constant while the baseline hazard can vary freely between intervals. Even if the choice of intervals is very poor the ultimate results are typically qualitatively similar to Cox regression. Increasing the number of intervals will inevitably improve the approximation to the true baseline hazard, but the addition of many more unnecessary time intervals slows the analysis and can become disclosive and yet will not improve the fit of the model.

If the number of failures in one or more periods in a given study is less than the specified disclosure filter determining minimum acceptable cell size in a table (nfilter.tab) then the expanded data frame is not created in that study, and a study-side message to this effect is made available in that study via ds.message() function.

Server functions called: lexisDS1, lexisDS2 and lexisDS3


ds.lexis returns to the server-side a data frame for each study with the expanded version of the input table.


DataSHIELD Development Team

See Also

ds.glm for generalized linear models.


## Not run: 

 ## Version 6, for version 5 see Wiki
  # Connecting to the Opal servers
  # Example 1: Fitting GLM for survival analysis
  # For this analysis we need to load survival data from the server 
  builder <- DSI::newDSLoginBuilder()
  builder$append(server = "study1", 
                 url = "", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING1", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study2", 
                 url = "", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING2", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study3",
                 url = "", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING3", driver = "OpalDriver")
  logindata <- builder$build()
  # Log onto the remote Opal training servers
  connections <- DSI::datashield.login(logins = logindata, assign = TRUE, symbol = "D") 
  #Example 1: Create the expanded data frame. 
  #The survival time intervals are to be 0<t<=2.5; 2.5<t<=5.0, 5.0<t<=7.5, 
  #up to the final interval of duration 2.5
  #that includes the maximum survival time. 

  ds.lexis(data = "D", 
           intervalWidth = 2.5,
           idCol = "D$id",
           entryCol = "D$starttime",
           exitCol = "D$endtime",
           statusCol = "D$cens",
           expandDF = "EM.new",
           datasources = connections)
  #Confirm that the expanded data frame has been ceated
  ds.ls(datasources = connections) 
  #Example 2: Create the expanded data frame. 
  #The survival time intervals are to be 0<t<=1; 1<t<=2.0, 2.0<t<=5.0, 5.0<t<=11.0,
  ds.lexis(data = "D",
           intervalWidth = c(1,1,3,6), 
           idCol = "D$id",
           entryCol = "D$starttime", 
           exitCol = "D$endtime", 
           statusCol = "D$cens",
           expandDF = "EM.new2",
           datasources = connections)
  #Confirm expanded dataframe created
  ds.ls(datasources = connections) 

## End(Not run)

[Package dsBaseClient version 6.1.1 ]