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Performance characteristics of a local triage tool and internationally validated tools among under-fives presenting to an urban emergency department in Tanzania.

  • Author(s): Marombwa, Nafsa R
  • Sawe, Hendry R
  • George, Upendo
  • Kilindimo, Said S
  • Lucumay, Nanyori J
  • Mjema, Kilalo M
  • Mfinanga, Juma A
  • Weber, Ellen J
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-019-1417-7
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

BACKGROUND:A number of region-specific validated triage systems exist; however very little is known about their performance in resource limited settings. We compare the local triage tool and internationally validated tools among under-fives presenting to an urban emergency department in Tanzania. METHODOLOGY:Prospective descriptive study of consecutive under-fives seen at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), ED between November 2017 to April 2018. Patients were triaged according to Local Triage System (LTS), and the information collected were used to assign acuities in the other triage scales: Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS), Australasian Triage Scale (ATS), Manchester Triage Scale (MTS) and South African Triage Scale (SATS). Patients were then followed up to determine disposition and 24 h outcome. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for admission and mortality were then calculated. RESULTS:A total of 384 paediatric patients were enrolled, their median age was 17 months (IQR 7-36 months). Using LTS, 67(17.4%) patients were triaged in level one, 291(75.8%) level 2 and 26 (6.8%) in level 3 categories. Overall admission rate was 59.6% and at 24 h there were five deaths (1.3%). Using Level 1 in LTS, and Levels 1 and 2 in other systems, sensitivity and specificity for admission for all triage scales ranged between 27.1-28.4% and 95.4-98% respectively, (PPV 90.3-95.3%, NPV 47.1-47.4%). Sensitivity for mortality was 80% for LTS, and 100% for the other scales, while specificity was low, yielding a PPV for all scales between 6.9 and 8%. CONCLUSION:All triage scales showed poor ability to predict need for admission, however all triage scales except LTS predicted mortality. The test characteristics for the other scales were similar. Future studies should focus on determining the reliability and validity of each of these triage tools in our setting.

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