Comparison of pediatric scoring systems for mortality in septic patients and the impact of missing information on their predictive power: a retrospective analysis

PeerJ. 2020 Oct 5;8:e9993. doi: 10.7717/peerj.9993. eCollection 2020.


Background: Scores can assess the severity and course of disease and predict outcome in an objective manner. This information is needed for proper risk assessment and stratification. Furthermore, scoring systems support optimal patient care, resource management and are gaining in importance in terms of artificial intelligence.

Objective: This study evaluated and compared the prognostic ability of various common pediatric scoring systems (PRISM, PRISM III, PRISM IV, PIM, PIM2, PIM3, PELOD, PELOD 2) in order to determine which is the most applicable score for pediatric sepsis patients in terms of timing of disease survey and insensitivity to missing data.

Methods: We retrospectively examined data from 398 patients under 18 years of age, who were diagnosed with sepsis. Scores were assessed at ICU admission and re-evaluated on the day of peak C-reactive protein. The scores were compared for their ability to predict mortality in this specific patient population and for their impairment due to missing data.

Results: PIM (AUC 0.76 (0.68-0.76)), PIM2 (AUC 0.78 (0.72-0.78)) and PIM3 (AUC 0.76 (0.68-0.76)) scores together with PRSIM III (AUC 0.75 (0.68-0.75)) and PELOD 2 (AUC 0.75 (0.66-0.75)) are the most suitable scores for determining patient prognosis at ICU admission. Once sepsis is pronounced, PELOD 2 (AUC 0.84 (0.77-0.91)) and PRISM IV (AUC 0.8 (0.72-0.88)) become significantly better in their performance and count among the best prognostic scores for use at this time together with PRISM III (AUC 0.81 (0.73-0.89)). PELOD 2 is good for monitoring and, like the PIM scores, is also largely insensitive to missing values.

Conclusion: Overall, PIM scores show comparatively good performance, are stable as far as timing of the disease survey is concerned, and they are also relatively stable in terms of missing parameters. PELOD 2 is best suitable for monitoring clinical course.

Keywords: Children; Critical care; Missing data; Mortality scores; Sepsis.

Grant support

The authors received no funding for this work.