Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Surgery and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Failure of available scoring systems to predict ongoing infection in patients with abdominal sepsis after their initial emergency laparotomy

Oddeke van Ruler1, Jordy JS Kiewiet1*, Kimberley R Boer2, Bas Lamme1, Dirk J Gouma1, Marja A Boermeester1 and Johannes B Reitsma2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Surgery 2011, 11:38  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-38

Published: 23 December 2011

Abstract

Background

To examine commonly used scoring systems, designed to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients, for their ability to select patients with an abdominal sepsis that have ongoing infection needing relaparotomy.

Methods

Data from a RCT comparing two surgical strategies was used. The study population consisted of 221 patients at risk for ongoing abdominal infection. The following scoring systems were evaluated with logistic regression analysis for their ability to select patients requiring a relaparotomy: APACHE-II score, SAPS-II, Mannheim Peritonitis Index (MPI), MODS, SOFA score, and the acute part of the APACHE-II score (APS).

Results

The proportion of patients requiring a relaparotomy was 32% (71/221). Only 2 scores had a discriminatory ability in identifying patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy above chance: the APS on day 1 (AUC 0.61; 95%CI 0.52-0.69) and the SOFA score on day 2 (AUC 0.60; 95%CI 0.52-0.69). However, to correctly identify 90% of all patients needing a relaparotomy would require such a low cut-off value that around 80% of all patients identified by these scoring systems would have negative findings at relaparotomy.

Conclusions

None of the widely-used scoring systems to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients are of clinical value for the identification of patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy. There is a need to develop more specific tools to assist physicians in their daily monitoring and selection of these patients after the initial emergency laparotomy.

Trial registration number

ISRCTN: ISRCTN 51729393