A Protocolised Once a Day Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) Measurement Is an Appropriate Screening Tool for Major Adverse Events in a General Hospital Population

Louise S. van Galen, Casper C. Dijkstra, Jeroen Ludikhuize, Mark H. H. Kramer, Prabath W. B. Nanayakkara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) was developed to timely recognise clinically deteriorating hospitalised patients. However, the ability of the MEWS in predicting serious adverse events (SAEs) in a general hospital population has not been examined prospectively. The aims were to (1) analyse protocol adherence to a MEWS protocol in a real-life setting and (2) to determine the predictive value of protocolised daily MEWS measurement on SAEs: death, cardiac arrests, ICU-admissions and readmissions. All adult patients admitted to 6 hospital wards in October and November 2015 were included. MEWS were checked each morning by the research team. For each critical score (MEWS ≥ 3), the clinical staff was inquired about the actions performed. 30-day follow-up for SAEs was performed to compare between patients with and without a critical score. 1053 patients with 3673 vital parameter measurements were included, 200 (19.0%) had a critical score. The protocol adherence was 89.0%. 18.2% of MEWS were calculated wrongly. Patients with critical scores had significant higher rates of unplanned ICU admissions [7.0% vs 1.3%, p < 0.001], in-hospital mortality [6.0% vs 0.8%, p < 0.001], 30-day readmission rates [18.6% vs 10.8%, p < 0.05], and a longer length of stay [15.65 (SD: 15.7 days) vs 6.09 (SD: 6.9), p < 0.001]. Specificity of MEWS related to composite adverse events was 83% with a negative predicting value of 98.1%. Protocol adherence was high, even though one-third of the critical scores were calculated wrongly. Patients with a MEWS ≥ 3 experienced significantly more adverse events. The negative predictive value of early morning MEWS < 3 was 98.1%, indicating the reliability of this score as a screening tool
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0160811
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Journal Article

Cite this