Development of a Simple Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score for Risk Assessment of Emergency Department Patients With Sepsis

Faheem W. Guirgis, Michael A. Puskarich, Carmen Smotherman, Sarah A. Sterling, Shiva Gautam, Frederick A. Moore, Alan E. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Sepsis-3 recommends using the quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score followed by SOFA score for sepsis evaluation. The SOFA is complex and unfamiliar to most emergency physicians, while qSOFA is insensitive for sepsis screening and may result in missed cases of sepsis. The objective of this study was to devise an easy-to-use simple SOFA score for use in the emergency department (ED). Methods: Retrospective study of ED patients with sepsis with in-hospital mortality as the primary outcome. A simple SOFA score was derived and validated and compared with SOFA and qSOFA. Results: A total of 3297 patients with sepsis were included, and in-hospital mortality was 10.1%. Simple SOFA had a sensitivity and specificity of 88% and 44% in the derivation set and 93% and 44% in the validation set for in-hospital mortality, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of qSOFA was 38% and 86% and for SOFA was 90% and 50%, respectively. There were 2760 (84%) of 3297 qSOFA-negative (<2) patients. In this group, simple SOFA had a sensitivity and specificity of 86% and 48% in the derivation set and 91% and 48% in the validation set, respectively. Sequential Organ Failure Assessment was 86% sensitive and 57% specific in qSOFA-negative patients. For all encounters, the areas under the receiver–operator characteristic curves (AUROC) were 0.82 for SOFA, 0.78 (derivation) and 0.82 (validation) for simple SOFA, and 0.68 for qSOFA. In qSOFA-negative patients, the AUROCs were 0.80 for SOFA and 0.76 (derivation) and 0.82 (validation) for simple SOFA. Conclusions: Simple SOFA demonstrates similar predictive ability for in-hospital mortality from sepsis compared to SOFA. External validation of these findings is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-278
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • infection
  • organ dysfunction
  • sepsis
  • septic shock

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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