Validity of the Manchester Triage System in paediatric emergency care

J Roukema, E W Steyerberg, A van Meurs, M Ruige, J van der Lei, H A Moll
Emergency Medicine Journal: EMJ 2006, 23 (12): 906-10

OBJECTIVE: To assess the validity of the Manchester Triage System (MTS) in paediatric emergency care, using information on vital signs, resource utilisation and hospitalisation.

METHODS: Patients were eligible if they had attended the emergency department of a large inner-city hospital in The Netherlands from August 2003 to November 2004 and were <16 years of age. A representative sample of 1065 patients was drawn from 18,469 eligible patients. The originally assigned MTS urgency levels were compared with resource utilisation, hospitalisation and a predefined reference classification for true urgency, based on vital signs, resource utilisation and follow-up. Sensitivity, specificity and percentage of overtriage and undertriage of the MTS were calculated.

RESULTS: The number of patients who used more than two resources increased with a higher level of MTS urgency. The percentage of hospital admissions increased with the increase in level of urgency, from 1% in the non-urgent patients to 54% in emergent patients. According to the reference classification, the sensitivity of the MTS to detect emergent/very urgent cases was 63%, and the specificity was 78%. Undertriage occurred in 15% of patients, of which 96% were by one urgency category lower than the reference classification. Overtriage occurred in 40%, mostly in lower MTS categories. In 36% of these cases, the MTS classified two or more urgency categories higher than the reference classification.

CONCLUSIONS: The MTS has moderate sensitivity and specificity in paediatric emergency care. Specific modifications of the MTS should be considered in paediatric emergency care to reduce overtriage, while maintaining sensitivity in the highest urgency categories.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"