Meningococcal disease: a comparison of eight severity scores in 125 children

Intensive Care Med. 1996 Dec;22(12):1433-41. doi: 10.1007/BF01709565.


Objective: To investigate the accuracy of eight different prognostic scores (Stiehm, Niklasson, Leclerc, Garlund, the MOC score, Tesero, the Glasgow Meningococcal Septicaemia Prognostic Score (GMSPS) and Tüyzüs) in the prediction of fatal outcome in meningococcal disease.

Design: Combined prospective and retrospective study.

Setting: A 175-bed pediatric department of a university hospital providing secondary care to +/- 180,000 inhabitants and serving as a referral center. The Pediatric Intensive Care (14 beds) is one of the six PICUs in the Netherlands and provides tertiary care for children under 18 years.

Patients: During an 8-year period (1986-1994) 125 children (mean age 4 years, 10 months) with culture-proven meningococcal disease were studied: 34 patients presenting with meningitis, 33 patients with septic shock and 58 patients with meningitis and septic shock.

Main results: All eight scores discriminated above average between survivors and non-survivors, as expressed by the corresponding Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves. The area under the ROC curve (AUC) ranged from 0.74 for the Garlund score to 0.93 for the GMSPS. The GMSPS performed significantly better than its competitors, even after exclusion of the base deficit as one of the score components (AUC = 0.92). It showed above average calibration when logistically transformed into a probability of mortality, and accurately identified a subgroup of patients with no mortality. None of the scores correctly identified non-survivors.

Conclusion: The GMSPS is a simple score that can be reliably used for risk classification and the identification of low-risk patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meningococcal Infections / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Survival Analysis