Importance: There is limited evidence that the use of severity of illness scores in pediatric patients can facilitate timely admission to the intensive care unit or improve patient outcomes.
Objective: To determine the effect of the Bedside Paediatric Early Warning System (BedsidePEWS) on all-cause hospital mortality and late admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), cardiac arrest, and ICU resource use.
Design, setting, and participants: A multicenter cluster randomized trial of 21 hospitals located in 7 countries (Belgium, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and the Netherlands) that provided inpatient pediatric care for infants (gestational age ≥37 weeks) to teenagers (aged ≤18 years). Participating hospitals had continuous physician staffing and subspecialized pediatric services. Patient enrollment began on February 28, 2011, and ended on June 21, 2015. Follow-up ended on July 19, 2015.
Interventions: The BedsidePEWS intervention (10 hospitals) was compared with usual care (no severity of illness score; 11 hospitals).
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was all-cause hospital mortality. The secondary outcome was a significant clinical deterioration event, which was defined as a composite outcome reflecting late ICU admission. Regression analyses accounted for hospital-level clustering and baseline rates.
Results: Among 144 539 patient discharges at 21 randomized hospitals, there were 559 443 patient-days and 144 539 patients (100%) completed the trial. All-cause hospital mortality was 1.93 per 1000 patient discharges at hospitals with BedsidePEWS and 1.56 per 1000 patient discharges at hospitals with usual care (adjusted between-group rate difference, 0.01 [95% CI, -0.80 to 0.81 per 1000 patient discharges]; adjusted odds ratio, 1.01 [95% CI, 0.61 to 1.69]; P = .96). Significant clinical deterioration events occurred during 0.50 per 1000 patient-days at hospitals with BedsidePEWS vs 0.84 per 1000 patient-days at hospitals with usual care (adjusted between-group rate difference, -0.34 [95% CI, -0.73 to 0.05 per 1000 patient-days]; adjusted rate ratio, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.61 to 0.97]; P = .03).
Conclusions and relevance: Implementation of the Bedside Paediatric Early Warning System compared with usual care did not significantly decrease all-cause mortality among hospitalized pediatric patients. These findings do not support the use of this system to reduce mortality.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01260831.