A comparison of the ability of the physiological components of Medical Emergency Team criteria and the UK National Early Warning Score (NEWS) to discriminate patients at risk of a range of adverse clinical outcomes

Gary B. Smith, David Prytherch, Stuart William Jarvis, Caroline Mary Segrave Kovacs, Paul G. Meredith, Paul E. Schmidt, James Stewart Briggs

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Abstract

Objective: To compare the ability of medical emergency team criteria and the National Early Warning Score to discriminate cardiac arrest, unanticipated ICU admission and death within 24 hours of a vital signs measurement, and to quantify the associated workload.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: A large U.K. National Health Service District General Hospital.

Patients: Adults hospitalized from May 25, 2011, to December 31, 2013.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: We applied the National Early Warning Score and 44 sets of medical emergency team criteria to a database of 2,245,778 vital signs sets (103,998 admissions). The National Early Warning Score’s performance was assessed using the area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve and compared with sensitivity/specificity for different medical emergency team criteria. Area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve (95% CI) for the National Early Warning Score for the combined outcome (i.e., death, cardiac arrest, or unanticipated ICU admission) was 0.88 (0.88–0.88). A National Early Warning Score value of 7 had sensitivity/specificity values of 44.5% and 97.4%, respectively. For the 44 sets of medical emergency team criteria studied, sensitivity ranged from 19.6% to 71.2% and specificity from 71.5% to 98.5%. For all outcomes, the position of the National Early Warning Score receiver-operating characteristic curve was above and to the left of all medical emergency team criteria points, indicating better discrimination. Similarly, the positions of all medical emergency team criteria points were above and to the left of the National Early Warning Score efficiency curve, indicating higher workloads (trigger rates).

Conclusions: When medical emergency team systems are compared to a National Early Warning Score value of greater than or equal to 7, some medical emergency team systems have a higher sensitivity than National Early Warning Score values of greater than or equal to 7. However, all of these medical emergency team systems have a lower specificity and would generate greater workloads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2171-2181
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Volume44
Issue number12
Early online date2 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • hospital rapid response team
  • monitoring
  • physiologic
  • quality improvement
  • decision support techniques
  • vital signs

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