Background: Existing severity assessment tools, such as the pneumonia severity index (PSI) and CURB-65 (tool based on confusion, urea level, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and age >or=65 years), predict 30-day mortality in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and have limited ability to predict which patients will require intensive respiratory or vasopressor support (IRVS).
Methods: The Australian CAP Study (ACAPS) was a prospective study of 882 episodes in which each patient had a detailed assessment of severity features, etiology, and treatment outcomes. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify features at initial assessment that were associated with receipt of IRVS. These results were converted into a simple points-based severity tool that was validated in 5 external databases, totaling 7464 patients.
Results: In ACAPS, 10.3% of patients received IRVS, and the 30-day mortality rate was 5.7%. The features statistically significantly associated with receipt of IRVS were low systolic blood pressure (2 points), multilobar chest radiography involvement (1 point), low albumin level (1 point), high respiratory rate (1 point), tachycardia (1 point), confusion (1 point), poor oxygenation (2 points), and low arterial pH (2 points): SMART-COP. A SMART-COP score of >or=3 points identified 92% of patients who received IRVS, including 84% of patients who did not need immediate admission to the intensive care unit. Accuracy was also high in the 5 validation databases. Sensitivities of PSI and CURB-65 for identifying the need for IRVS were 74% and 39%, respectively.
Conclusions: SMART-COP is a simple, practical clinical tool for accurately predicting the need for IRVS that is likely to assist clinicians in determining CAP severity.