Derivation and validation of a clinical severity score for acutely ill adults with suspected COVID-19: The PRIEST observational cohort study

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Objectives We aimed to derive and validate a triage tool, based on clinical assessment alone, for predicting adverse outcome in acutely ill adults with suspected COVID-19 infection. Methods We undertook a mixed prospective and retrospective observational cohort study in 70 emergency departments across the United Kingdom (UK). We collected presenting data from 22445 people attending with suspected COVID-19 between 26 March 2020 and 28 May 2020. The primary outcome was death or organ support (respiratory, cardiovascular, or renal) by record review at 30 days. We split the cohort into derivation and validation sets, developed a clinical score based on the coefficients from multivariable analysis using the derivation set, and the estimated discriminant performance using the validation set. Results We analysed 11773 derivation and 9118 validation cases. Multivariable analysis identified that age, sex, respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure, oxygen saturation/inspired oxygen ratio, performance status, consciousness, history of renal impairment, and respiratory distress were retained in analyses restricted to the ten or fewer predictors. We used findings from multivariable analysis and clinical judgement to develop a score based on the NEWS2 score, age, sex, and performance status. This had a c-statistic of 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.79-0.81) in the validation cohort and predicted adverse outcome with sensitivity 0.98 (0.97-0.98) and specificity 0.34 (0.34-0.35) for scores above four points. Conclusion A clinical score based on NEWS2, age, sex, and performance status predicts adverse outcome with good discrimination in adults with suspected COVID-19 and can be used to support decision-making in emergency care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0245840
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology


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