Pediatric early warning systems (PEWS) are used to detect clinical deterioration in hospitalized children. Few PEWSs have been validated in multicenter studies and the performance in many single-center studies varies. We wanted to compare two PEWS in a multicenter study.
Design and methods:
Randomized multicenter unblinded trial conducted at all pediatric departments in the Central Denmark Region. A random sample of 16,213 pediatric patients (31,337 admissions) were enrolled from November 2014 to March 2017. Patients were randomized to The Bedside PEWS or CDR PEWS. The primary outcome was the sum of hospitalized children experiencing in-hospital clinical deterioration requiring transfer to a higher level of care.
Of the 21,077 pediatric patients who met the inclusion criteria, 16,213 (from 31,337 admissions) were enrolled. 22 unplanned transfers to a higher level of care were identified: 14 in The Bedside PEWS group and 8 in the CDR PEWS group, a non-statistical difference (P = 0.20). No significant difference in predicting unplanned transfer to a higher level of care (P = 0.78) were detected and no significant difference was observed in the secondary outcomes.
The CDR PEWS prevents as many critical events as The Bedside PEWS. Shorter median time to PEWS reassessment when CDR PEWS was used and fewer reassessments being done to late could reflect that the CDR PEWS was more acceptable to staff.
The results from this study should be interpreted with caution as very few patients experiencing clinical deterioration and further studies should also focus on challenges trying to evaluate PEWS.