Triage score for severity of illness

Indian Pediatr. 2003 Mar;40(3):204-10.

Abstract

Objective: To evolve a triage scoring system for severity of illness based on clinical variables related to systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).

Design: Prospective study in a tertiary-care hospital.

Methods: Consecutive pediatric patients admitted to the ward or pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) were studied. The respiratory rate, heart rate, capillary refill time, oxygen saturation (SpO2), systolic blood pressure and temperature were noted, Sensorium level was assessed on AVPU score. Variables were based on SIRS criteria and criteria mentioned in Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS). Each study variable was scored as 0 or 1 (normal or abnormal) and total score for each child obtained. The survival at discharge was correlated with the study variables and the total score. Another score based on the magnitudes of the coefficients in multiple logistic regression analysis was computed and the correlation between this score and mortality was also studied. ROC curve analysis was performed to see the overall predictive ability of the score as well as a cut off at which maximum discrimination occurred.

Results: Of 1099 children studied, 44 died. Of the seven variables, only five variables were abnormal in the study subjects. Except heart rate and respiratory rate, all other variables and age showed significant association with survival status (P < 0.01). The mortality increased with increase in the number of abnormal variables: 0.4% 2.2% 6.1% 15.3% 19.4% and 29.4%for scores of 0,1,2,3,4 and 5 respectively and the linear trend was significant (P < 0.01). Mortality also increased with a decrease in age (P < 0.01). Children with a score of 2 or more (2 or more abnormal clinical variables) had significantly higher mortality as compared to those with no abnormal clinical variables (score = 0). Based on the regression coefficients, the maximum possible score was 9.8. Regression based score was found to predict survival status well. The area under the ROC curve was 0.887, indicating that overall 88.7% of the subjects could be predicted correctly. Maximum discrimination was observed at a score of 2.5 (sensitivity 84.1% specificity 82.2%).

Conclusion: For triage scoring, any child with 2 or more abnormal clinical variables should be taken as serious that might lead to death. With a more detailed scoring, score of 2.5 can be taken as cut-off to select children who possibly need admission and closer observation.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / classification*
  • Triage / classification*