Risk assessment in the first fifteen minutes: a prospective cohort study of a simple physiological scoring system in the emergency department.
Crit Care. 2011 Jan 18;15(1):R25
Authors: Merz TM, Etter R, Mende L, Barthelmes D, Wiegand J, Martinolli L, Takala J
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The survival of patients admitted to an emergency department is determined by the severity of acute illness and the quality of care provided. The high number and the wide spectrum of severity of illness of admitted patients make an immediate assessment of all patients unrealistic. The aim of this study is to evaluate a scoring system based on readily available physiological parameters immediately after admission to an emergency department (ED) for the purpose of identification of at-risk patients. METHODS: This prospective observational cohort study includes 4388 consecutive adult patients admitted via the ED of a 960-bed tertiary referral hospital over a period of six months. Occurrence of each of seven potential vital sign abnormalities (threat to airway, abnormal respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, low Glasgow Coma Scale and seizures) was collected and added up to generate the vital sign score (VSS). VSSinitial was defined as the VSS in the first fifteen minutes after admission, VSSmax as the maximum VSS throughout the stay in ED. Occurrence of single vital sign abnormalities in the first 15 minutes and VSSinitial and VSSmax were evaluated as potential predictors of hospital mortality. RESULTS: Logistic regression analysis identified all evaluated single vital sign abnormalities except seizures and abnormal respiratory rate to be independent predictors of hospital mortality. Increasing VSSinitial and VSSmax were significantly correlated to hospital mortality (odds ratio (OR) 2.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.50 to 3.14, P < 0.0001 for VSSinitial; OR 2.36, 95% CI 2.15 to 2.60, P < 0.0001 for VSSmax). The predictive power of VSS was highest if collected in the first 15 minutes after ED admission (log rank Chi-square 468.1, P < 0.0001 for VSSinitial;,log rank Chi square 361.5, P < 0.0001 for VSSmax). CONCLUSIONS: Vital sign abnormalities and VSS collected in the first minutes after ED admission can identify patients at risk of an unfavourable outcome.
PMID: 21244659 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]