Comparison of QSOFA score and SIRS criteria as screening mechanisms for emergency department sepsis

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Abstract

Objectives:

The Quick Sequential [Sepsis-related] Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score has been shown to accurately predict mortality in septic patients and is part of recently proposed diagnostic criteria for sepsis. We sought to ascertain the sensitive of the score in diagnosing sepsis, as well as the diagnostic timeliness of the score when compared to traditional systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria in a population of emergency department (ED) patients treated in the ED, admitted, and subsequently discharged with a diagnosis of sepsis.

Methods:

Electronic health records of 200 patients who were treated for suspected sepsis in our ED and ultimately discharged from our hospital with a diagnosis of sepsis were randomly selected for review from a population of adult ED patients (N = 1880). Data extracted included the presence of SIRS criteria and the qSOFA score as well as time required to meet said criteria.

Results:

In this cohort, 94.5% met SIRS criteria while in the ED whereas only 58.3% met qSOFA. The mean time from arrival to SIRS documentation was 47.1 min (95% CI: 36.5–57.8) compared to 84.0 min (95% CI: 62.2–105.8) for qSOFA. The median ED “door” to positive SIRS criteria was 12 min and 29 min for qSOFA.

Conclusions:

Although qSOFA may be valuable in predicting sepsis-related mortality, it performed poorly as a screening tool for identifying sepsis in the ED. As the time to meet qSOFA criteria was significantly longer than for SIRS, relying on qSOFA alone may delay initiation of evidence-based interventions known to improve sepsis-related outcomes.

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