Is this critically ill patient going to survive?
Is this question important? The immediate response is ‘of course’, because survival is important. However, the real underlying question is “Why is it important to predict outcome?” And the answer to this question is much less straightforward. Does it make a difference knowing whether or not a person is predicted to survive an acute illness, traumatic event or disease process? If they are predicted to survive, this knowledge is unlikely to have any real impact for us as physicians or for the patient; it will not alter the way in which the patient is managed. However, knowing that a patient is going to succumb may have serious implications, potentially altering our approach to treatment, negatively affecting staff morale, and influencing how we speak to relatives and other members of the ICU team.
So, how should we answer this question, which is often (repeatedly) posed by relatives and/or other members of the care team? When considering these issues, it is important to remember that we...
KeywordsSystemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score Simplify Acute Physiology Score Prediction Score
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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