Clinician judgment vs formal scales for predicting intracerebral hemorrhage outcomes

Neurology. 2016 Jan 12;86(2):126-33. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002266. Epub 2015 Dec 16.


Objective: To compare the performance of formal prognostic instruments vs subjective clinical judgment with regards to predicting functional outcome in patients with spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).

Methods: This prospective observational study enrolled 121 ICH patients hospitalized at 5 US tertiary care centers. Within 24 hours of each patient's admission to the hospital, one physician and one nurse on each patient's clinical team were each asked to predict the patient's modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at 3 months and to indicate whether he or she would recommend comfort measures. The admission ICH score and FUNC score, 2 prognostic scales selected for their common use in neurologic practice, were calculated for each patient. Spearman rank correlation coefficients (r) with respect to patients' actual 3-month mRS for the physician and nursing predictions were compared against the same correlation coefficients for the ICH score and FUNC score.

Results: The absolute value of the correlation coefficient for physician predictions with respect to actual outcome (0.75) was higher than that of either the ICH score (0.62, p = 0.057) or the FUNC score (0.56, p = 0.01). The nursing predictions of outcome (r = 0.72) also trended towards an accuracy advantage over the ICH score (p = 0.09) and FUNC score (p = 0.03). In an analysis that excluded patients for whom comfort care was recommended, the 65 available attending physician predictions retained greater accuracy (r = 0.73) than either the ICH score (r = 0.50, p = 0.02) or the FUNC score (r = 0.42, p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Early subjective clinical judgment of physicians correlates more closely with 3-month outcome after ICH than prognostic scales.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / blood
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician's Role
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult