Simultaneous Prediction of New Morbidity, Mortality, and Survival Without New Morbidity From Pediatric Intensive Care: A New Paradigm for Outcomes Assessment

Crit Care Med. 2015 Aug;43(8):1699-709. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001081.


Objectives: Assessments of care including quality assessments adjusted for physiological status should include the development of new morbidities as well as mortalities. We hypothesized that morbidity, like mortality, is associated with physiological dysfunction and could be predicted simultaneously with mortality.

Design: Prospective cohort study from December 4, 2011, to April 7, 2013.

Setting: General and cardiac/cardiovascular PICUs at seven sites.

Patients: Randomly selected PICU patients from their first PICU admission.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Among 10,078 admissions, the unadjusted morbidity rates (measured with the Functional Status Scale and defined as an increase of ≥ 3 from preillness to hospital discharge) were 4.6% (site range, 2.6-7.7%) and unadjusted mortality rates were 2.7% (site range, 1.3-5.0%). Morbidity and mortality were significantly (p < 0.001) associated with physiological instability (measured with the Pediatric Risk of Mortality III score) in dichotomous (survival and death) and trichotomous (survival without new morbidity, survival with new morbidity, and death) models without covariate adjustments. Morbidity risk increased with increasing Pediatric Risk of Mortality III scores and then decreased at the highest Pediatric Risk of Mortality III values as potential morbidities became mortalities. The trichotomous model with covariate adjustments included age, admission source, diagnostic factors, baseline Functional Status Scale, and the Pediatric Risk of Mortality III score. The three-level goodness-of-fit test indicated satisfactory performance for the derivation and validation sets (p > 0.20). Predictive ability assessed with the volume under the surface was 0.50 ± 0.019 (derivation) and 0.50 ± 0.034 (validation) (vs chance performance = 0.17). Site-level standardized morbidity ratios were more variable than standardized mortality ratios.

Conclusions: New morbidities were associated with physiological status and can be modeled simultaneously with mortality. Trichotomous outcome models including both morbidity and mortality based on physiological status are suitable for research studies and quality and other outcome assessments. This approach may be applicable to other assessments presently based only on mortality.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Illness / mortality*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Morbidity*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis