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qSOFA as a new community-acquired pneumonia severity score in the emergency setting


Background Quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score is a bedside prognostic tool for patients with suspected infection outside the intensive care unit (ICU), which is particularly useful when laboratory analyses are not readily available. However, its performance in potentially septic patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) needs to be examined further, especially in relation to early outcomes affecting acute management.

Objective First, to compare the performance of qSOFA and CURB-65 in the prediction of mortality in the emergency department in patients presenting with CAP. Second, to study patients who required critical care support (CCS) and ICU admission.

Methods Between January and December 2017, a 1-year retrospective observational study was carried out of adult (≥18 years old) patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) of our hospital (Rome, Italy) with CAP. The accuracy of qSOFA, qSOFA-65 and CURB-65 was compared in predicting mortality in the ED, CCS requirement and ICU admission. The concordance among scores ≥2 was then assessed for 30-day estimated mortality prediction.

Results 505 patients with CAP were enrolled. Median age was 71.0 years and mortality rate in the ED was 4.7%. The areas under the curve (AUCs) of qSOFA-65, CURB-65 and qSOFA in predicting mortality rate in the ED were 0.949 (95% CI 0.873 to 0.976), 0.923 (0.867 to 0.980) and 0.909 (0.847 to 0.971), respectively. The likelihood ratio of a patient having a qSOFA score ≥2 points was higher than for qSOFA-65 or CURB-65 (11 vs 7 vs 6.7). The AUCs of qSOFA, qSOFA-65 and CURB-65 in predicting CCS requirement were 0.862 (95% CI 0.802 to 0.923), 0.824 (0.758 to 0.890) and 0.821 (0.754 to 0.888), respectively. The AUCs of qSOFA-65, qSOFA and CURB-65 in predicting ICU admission were 0.593 (95% CI 0.511 to 0.676), 0.585 (0.503 to 0.667) and 0.570 (0.488 to 0.653), respectively. The concordance between qSOFA-65 and CURB-65 in 30-day estimated mortality prediction was 93%.

Conclusion qSOFA is a valuable score for predicting mortality in the ED and for the prompt identification of patients with CAP requiring CCS. qSOFA-65 may further improve the performance of this useful score, showing also good concordance with CURB-65 in 30-day estimated mortality prediction.

  • pneumonia/infections
  • death/mortality
  • emergency department
  • clinical assessment
  • intensive care

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request addressed to the corresponding author.

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