Risk stratification by abbMEDS and CURB-65 in relation to treatment and clinical disposition of the septic patient at the emergency department: a cohort study

A.A. Roest, J. Tegtmeier, J.J. Heyligen, J. Duijst, A. Peeters, H.F. Borggreve, A.M.L. Oude Lashof, C.D.A. Stehouwer, P.M. Stassen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Sepsis leads to high mortality, therefore risk stratification is important. The abbMEDS (abbreviated Mortality Emergency Department Sepsis) score assesses sepsis severity and predicts mortality. In community-acquired pneumonia, the CURB-65 (Confusion, Urea, Respiration, Blood pressure, Age) also provides support in clinical decisions regarding antibiotic treatment and clinical disposition. We investigated the predictive value and feasibility of the abbMEDS and CURB-65 in sepsis patients at the ED and the relationship between the scores and antibiotic treatment and clinical disposition (i.e. admission and type of ward).

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we included 725 sepsis patients at the ED. We investigated the value in predicting 28-day mortality and feasibility of both scores. We calibrated the abbMEDS. We further assessed the relationship between the three risk categories per score and antibiotic treatment (i.e. oral and intravenous narrow or broad-spectrum) and clinical disposition.

Results: Both abbMEDS and CURB-65 were good predictors of 28-day mortality (13.0 %) (AUC 0.77 [95 % CI 0.72-0.83] and 0.73 [95 % CI 0.67-0.78], respectively) and feasible (complete score 92.7 and 93.9 %, respectively). In the high risk category of the abbMEDS, all patients were admitted and treated with intravenous broad-spectrum antibiotics. In the high risk category of the CURB-65, 2.5 % were not admitted and 4.4 % received no antibiotics.

Conclusion: Both abbMEDS and CURB-65 are good predictors of 28-day mortality in septic ED patients. The abbMEDS is well calibrated and matches current clinical decisions concerning antibiotic treatment and clinical disposition, while this is less so for the CURB-65. In the future, use of the abbMEDS at the ED may improve sepsis care when its value as a decision support tool can be confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Sepsis
  • Treatment
  • Clinical disposition
  • Risk stratification

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