Prognostic stratification of elderly patients in the emergency department: a comparison between the "Identification of Seniors at Risk" and the "Silver Code"

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 May;67(5):544-50. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glr209. Epub 2011 Dec 7.


Background: The increasing number of elderly patients accessing emergency departments (EDs) requires use of validated assessment tools. We compared the Identification of Seniors at Risk (ISAR), using direct patient evaluation, with the Silver Code (SC), based on administrative data.

Methods: Subjects aged 75+ years accessing a geriatric ED over an 8-month period were enrolled. Outcomes were need for hospital admission and mortality at the index ED access, ED return visit, hospitalization, and death at 6 months.

Results: Of 1,632 participants (mean age 84 ± 5.5 years), 75% were ISAR positive, and the sample was homogeneously distributed across the four SC risk categories (cutoffs of 0-3, 4-6, 7-10, and 11+). The two scores were mildly correlated (r = .350, p < .001) and had a similar area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve in predicting hospital admission (ISAR: 0.65, SC: 0.63) and mortality (ISAR: 0.72, SC: 0.70). ISAR-positive subjects were at greater risk of hospitalization and death (odds ratio 2.68 and 5.23, respectively, p < .001); the risk increased across SC classes (p < .001). In the 6-month follow-up of discharged patients, the tools predicted similarly ED return visit, hospital admission, and mortality. The SC predicted these outcomes even in participants not hospitalized at the index ED access.

Conclusions: Prognostic stratification of elderly ED patients with the SC is comparable with that obtained with direct patient evaluation. The SC, previously validated in hospitalized patients, predicts ED readmissions and future hospitalizations even in patients discharged directly from the ED.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survival Analysis
  • Triage / methods