Risk stratification of the potentially septic patient in the emergency department: the Mortality in the Emergency Department Sepsis (MEDS) score

Christopher R Carpenter, Samuel M Keim, Suneel Upadhye, H Bryant Nguyen
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2009, 37 (3): 319-27

BACKGROUND: The prompt recognition and management of septic patients remains a challenge within the busy Emergency Department (ED). Prognostic screening aids have traditionally required time-delayed laboratory measurements not validated upon the emergency medicine population. Recently, a brief prognostic tool has been derived and subsequently validated in heterogeneous ED populations.

CLINICAL QUESTION: Can a risk-stratification tool predict 1-month mortality in ED patients with suspected infection?

EVIDENCE REVIEW: Six studies evaluating the Mortality in the Emergency Department Sepsis (MEDS) score were identified and evaluated.

RESULTS: Higher MEDS scores are associated with increasing mortality. MEDS score's short- and long-term prognostic accuracy is superior to other sepsis scales as well as isolated biomarkers C-reactive protein and procalcitonin. MEDS' prognostic accuracy in severe sepsis is inferior to undifferentiated systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) patients.

CONCLUSION: The MEDS score is an accurate and reliable prognostic tool for 28-day mortality in ED SIRS patients, but may not be optimal for those with severe sepsis.

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