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Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Jan 1;44(1):41-9. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Routine use of the Pneumonia Severity Index for guiding the site-of-treatment decision of patients with pneumonia in the emergency department: a multicenter, prospective, observational, controlled cohort study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universtaire Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.



Although the Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) has been extensively validated, little is known of the impact of its routine use as an aid to site-of-treatment decisions for patients with pneumonia who present to emergency departments (EDs).


A prospective, observational, controlled cohort study of patients with pneumonia was conducted in 8 EDs that used the PSI (PSI-user EDs) and 8 EDs that did not use the PSI (PSI-nonuser EDs) in France. The outcomes examined included the proportion of "low-risk" patients (PSI risk classes I-III) treated as outpatients, all-cause 28-day mortality, admission of inpatients to the intensive care unit, and subsequent hospitalization of outpatients.


Of the 925 patients enrolled in the study, 472 (51.0%) were treated at PSI-user EDs, and 453 (49.0%) were treated at PSI-nonuser EDs; 449 (48.5%) of all patients were considered to be at low risk. In PSI-user EDs, 92 (42.8%) of 215 patients at low risk were treated as outpatients, compared with 56 (23.9%) of 234 patients at low risk in PSI-nonuser EDs. The adjusted odds ratios for outpatient treatment were higher for patients in PSI risk classes I and II who were treated in PSI-user EDs, compared with PSI-nonuser EDs (adjusted odds ratio, 7.0 [95% confidence interval, 2.0-25.0] and 4.6 [95% confidence interval, 1.3-16.2], respectively), whereas the adjusted odds ratio did not differ by PSI-user status among patients in risk class III or among patients at high risk. After adjusting for pneumonia severity, mortality was lower in patients who were treated in PSI-user EDs; other safety outcomes did not differ between patients treated in PSI-user and PSI-nonuser EDs.


The routine use of the PSI was associated with a larger proportion of patients in PSI risk classes I and II who had pneumonia and who were treated in the outpatient environment without compromising their safety.

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