A tale of two continents: The performance of six early warning scores in two emergency departments

Ronson Sze Long Lo, Le Elias Lyngholm, Mikkel Brabrand, Ling Yan Leung, Kevin Kei Ching Hung*, Sune Laugesen, Stefan Posth, Tim Cooksley, Colin A. Graham, Christian H. Nickel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Several early warning scores have been designed to optimize acute care by identifying patients at risk of deterioration. Methods: In this post hoc dual center study, we analyzed the performance of six clinical scores (the Goodacre score, Groarke, Worthing Physiological Score, Rapid Acute Physiology Score, Rapid Emergency Medicine Score, United Kingdom National Early Warning Score. The primary outcome is 30-day all-cause mortality after inclusion and data were obtained from previous studies performed at two different emergency departments on two continents (Denmark, Europe, and Hong Kong, Asia). Results: We included 2952 people; 1482 (50.2%) were male, mean age (standard deviation) was 65.7 (18.3) years, and 109 (3.7%) died within 30 days. Mortality rate increased steadily with increasing scores for all six scoring systems in Hong Kong while this was less obvious in Denmark. In all patients, Rapid Acute Physiology Score had the lowest discriminatory power while National Early Warning Score had the highest. National Early Warning Score performed best in Hong Kong while Worthing performed marginally better in Denmark. Discussion: Surprisingly, the performance of the scoring systems varied considerably, but were largely unaffected by location, and none of them performed close to what clinicians would normally require for predicting 30-day all-cause mortality Conclusion: All scores performed similarly across both centers, with poor prediction of 30-day all-cause mortality. Based on these findings, we believe that clinical scores must be supplemented by either biochemical values or global markers of physiological reserve to reflect reality and to be of true value.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHong Kong Journal of Emergency Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12. Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Goodacre score
  • Groarke
  • Rapid Acute Physiology Score
  • risk prediction
  • United Kingdom National Early Warning Score


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