Background: This study evaluated the performance of a new weight estimation strategy (Mercy Method) with four existing weight-estimation methods (APLS, ARC, Broselow, and Nelson) in children from Ouelessebougou, Mali.
Methods: Otherwise healthy children, 2 mos to 16 yrs, were enrolled and weight, height, humeral length (HL) and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) obtained by trained raters. Weight estimation was performed as described for each method. Predicted weights were regressed against actual weights. Agreement between estimated and actual weight was determined using Bland-Altman plots with log-transformation. Predictive performance of each method was assessed using residual error (RE), percentage error (PE), root mean square error (RMSE), and percent predicted within 10, 20 and 30% of actual weight.
Results: 473 children (8.1±4.8 yr, 25.1±14.5 kg, 120.9±29.5 cm) participated in this study. The Mercy Method (MM) offered the best correlation between actual and estimated weight when compared with the other methods (r2=0.97 vs. 0.80-0.94). The MM also demonstrated the lowest ME (0.06 vs. 0.92-4.1 kg), MPE (1.6 vs. 7.8-19.8%) and RMSE (2.6 vs. 3.0-6.7). Finally, the MM estimated weight within 20% of actual for nearly all children (97%) as opposed to the other methods for which these values ranged from 50-69%.
Conclusions: The MM performed extremely well in Malian children with performance characteristics comparable to those observed for U.S and India and could be used in sub-Saharan African children without modification extending the utility of this weight estimation strategy.