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Prognostic and discriminative accuracy of the quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment compared with an early warning score: a Danish cohort study


Background The clinical benefit of implementing the quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) instead of early warning scores (EWS) to screen all hospitalised patients for critical illness has yet to be investigated in a large, multicentre study.

Methods We conducted a cohort study including all hospitalised patients ≥18 years with EWS recorded at hospitals in the Central Denmark Region during the year 2016. The primary outcome was intensive care unit (ICU) admission and/or death within 2 days following an initial EWS. Prognostic accuracy was examined using sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV) and positive predictive value (PPV). Discriminative accuracy was examined by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC).

Results Among 97 332 evaluated patients, 1714 (1.8%) experienced the primary outcome. The qSOFA ≥2 was less sensitive (11.7% (95% CI: 10.2% to 13.3%) vs 25.1% (95% CI: 23.1% to 27.3%)) and more specific (99.3% (95% CI: 99.2% to 99.3%) vs 97.5% (95% CI: 97.4% to 97.6%)) than EWS ≥5. The NPV was similar for the two scores (EWS ≥5, 98.6% (95% CI: 98.6% to 98.7%) and qSOFA ≥2, 98.4% (95% CI: 98.3% to 98.5%)), while the PPV was 15.1% (95% CI: 13.8% to 16.5%) for EWS ≥5 and 22.4% (95% CI: 19.7% to 25.3%) for qSOFA ≥2. The AUROC was 0.72 (95% CI: 0.70 to 0.73) for EWS and 0.66 (95% CI: 0.65 to 0.67) for qSOFA.

Conclusion The qSOFA was less sensitive (qSOFA ≥2 vs EWS ≥5) and discriminatively accurate than the EWS for predicting ICU admission and/or death within 2 days after an initial EWS. This study did not support replacing EWS with qSOFA in all hospitalised patients.

  • acute care
  • epidemiology
  • intensive care
  • assessment
  • systems

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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