Background: Several versions of the Pediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS) exist, but there is limited information available on the use of such systems in different contexts. In the present study, we aimed to examine the relationship between a modified version of The Brighton Paediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS) and patient characteristics in a Norwegian department of pediatric and adolescent medicine. In addition, we sought to establish guidelines for escalation in patient care based on the PEWS in our patient population.
Methods: The medical records of patients referred for acute care from March to May 2011 were retrospectively reviewed. Children with a PEWS ≥3 were compared to children with a PEWS 0-2 with regard to age, diagnostic group and indicators of severe disease.
Results: A total of 761 patients (0-18 years of age) were included in the analysis. A younger age and diagnostic groups such as lower airway and cardiovascular disease were associated with PEWS ≥3. Upper airway disease and minor injury were more frequent in patients with PEWS 0-2. Children with PEWS ≥3 received fluid resuscitation, intravenous antibiotics, and oxygen supplementation, and were transferred to a higher level of care more often than children with PEWS 0-2.
Conclusions: A PEWS ≥3 was associated with severe illnesses and surrogate markers of cardio-respiratory compromise. Patients with PEWS ≥3 should be carefully monitored to prevent further deterioration.