Table 1

The ATS categories, MWT and ATS clinical descriptors that match descriptors of the consensus definition of severe sepsis

ATS category and MWTATS clinical descriptors that match the consensus definition descriptors of severe sepsis
ATS 1:
immediately life-threatening—
MWT nil
requires immediate attention
Cardiac arrest
Respiratory arrest
Immediate risk to airway—impending arrest
Extreme respiratory distress
BP<80 (adult) or severely shocked child/infant
Unresponsive or responds to pain only (GCS<9)
Ongoing/prolonged seizure
ATS 2:
imminently life-threatening—
MWT 10 min
important time-critical treatment or very severe pain deteriorating rapidly
Airway risk—severe stridor or drooling with distress
Severe respiratory distress
Circulatory compromise
 Clammy or mottled skin, poor perfusion
 HR<50 or >150 (adult)
 Hypotension with haemodynamic effects
Very severe pain—any cause
BGL<2 mmol/L
Drowsy, decreased responsiveness any cause (GCS<13)
Fever with signs of lethargy
ATS 3:
potentially life-threatening or important time-critical treatment or severe pain, deterioration noted MWT 30 min
Moderate shortness of breath
SaO2 90%–95%
BGL >16 mmol/L
Seizure (now alert)
Any fever if immunosuppressed, for example, oncology patient, steroid Rx
Persistent vomiting
Moderately severe pain—any cause—requiring analgesia
Chest pain likely non-cardiac and moderate severity
Abdominal pain without high risk features—moderately severe or patient age >65 years
ATS 4:
potentially life-serious or situational urgency or significant complexity
MWT 60 min
Foreign body aspiration, no respiratory distress
Difficulty swallowing, no respiratory distress
Moderate pain, some risk features
Vomiting or diarrhoea without dehydration
Swollen ‘hot’ joint
Non-specific abdominal pain
ATS 5:
less urgent.
MWT 125 min
Minimal pain with no high risk features
Low-risk history and now asymptomatic
Minor symptoms of existing stable illness
Minor symptoms of low-risk conditions
Minor wounds—small abrasions, minor lacerations (not requiring sutures)
  • ATS, Australasian Triage Scale; BGL, blood glucose level; BP, systolic BP; MWT, maximum waiting time; Rx, treatment.