Reliability and accuracy of Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scoring

Crit Care Med. 2005 Sep;33(9):1988-93. doi: 10.1097/01.ccm.0000178178.02574.ab.


Objective: The Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score was developed to quantify the severity of patients' illness, based on the degree of organ dysfunction. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy and the reliability of SOFA scoring.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Adult intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary academic center.

Subjects: Thirty randomly selected patient cases and 20 ICU physicians.

Measurements and main results: Each physician scored 15 patient cases. The intraclass correlation coefficient was .889 for the total SOFA score. The weighted kappa values were moderate (0.552) for the central nervous system, good (0.634) for the respiratory system, and almost perfect (>0.8) for the other organ systems. To assess accuracy, the physicians' scores were compared with a gold standard based on consensus of two experts. The total SOFA score was correct in 53% (n = 158) of the cases. The mean of the absolute deviations of the recorded total SOFA scores from the gold standard total SOFA scores was 0.82. Common causes of errors were inattention, calculation errors, and misinterpretation of scoring rules.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the reliability and the accuracy of SOFA scoring among physicians are good. We advise implementation of additional measures to further improve reliability and accuracy of SOFA scoring.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Coma / complications
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index*