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Early Warning Scores Generated in Developed Healthcare Settings Are Not Sufficient at Predicting Early Mortality in Blantyre, Malawi: A Prospective Cohort Study

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Wheeler, India, Price, Charlotte, Sitch, Alice, Banda, Peter, Kellett, John, Nyirenda, Mulinda and Rylance, Jamie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2323-3611 (2013) 'Early Warning Scores Generated in Developed Healthcare Settings Are Not Sufficient at Predicting Early Mortality in Blantyre, Malawi: A Prospective Cohort Study'. PLoS ONE, Vol 8, Issue 3, e59830.

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Abstract

Aim
Early warning scores (EWS) are widely used in well-resourced healthcare settings to identify patients at risk of mortality. The Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) is a well-known EWS used comprehensively in the United Kingdom. The HOTEL score (Hypotension, Oxygen saturation, Temperature, ECG abnormality, Loss of independence) was developed and tested in a European cohort; however, its validity is unknown in resource limited settings. This study compared the performance of both scores and suggested modifications to enhance accuracy.

Methods
A prospective cohort study of adults (≥18 yrs) admitted to medical wards at a Malawian hospital. Primary outcome was mortality within three days. Performance of MEWS and HOTEL were assessed using ROC analysis. Logistic regression analysis identified important predictors of mortality and from this a new score was defined.

Results
Three-hundred-and-two patients were included. Fifty-one (16.9%) died within three days of admission. With a cut-point ≥2, the HOTEL score had sensitivity 70.6% (95% CI: 56.2 to 82.5) and specificity 59.4% (95% CI: 53.0 to 65.5), and was superior to MEWS (cut-point ≥5); sensitivity: 58.8% (95% CI: 44.2 to 72.4), specificity: 56.2% (95% CI: 49.8 to 62.4). The new score, dubbed TOTAL (Tachypnoea, Oxygen saturation, Temperature, Alert, Loss of independence), showed slight improvement with a cut-point ≥2; sensitivity 76.5% (95% CI: 62.5 to 87.2) and specificity 67.3% (95% CI: 61.1 to 73.1).

Conclusion
Using an EWS generated in developed healthcare systems in resource limited settings results in loss of sensitivity and specificity. A score based on predictors of mortality specific to the Malawian population showed enhanced accuracy but not enough to warrant clinical use. Despite an assumption of common physiological responses, disease and population differences seem to strongly determine the performance of EWS. Local validation and impact assessment of these scores should precede their adoption in resource limited settings.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 900 Public health statistics
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 950 Theory or methods of medical statistics. Epidemiologic methods
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059830
Depositing User: Martin Chapman
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2015 15:44
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2020 16:19
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/4873

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