Use of the ‘CURB 65’ score in hospital practice
The ‘CURB 65’ score is a simple well-validated tool for the assessment of severity in community acquired pneumonia (CAP). Whether it is used routinely is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of use of the score in routine hospital practice and correlate this with clinical decision making and patient outcome. Methods:
Retrospective cohort study of all patients with CAP (n= 174) presenting in three winter months. Demographic and clinical outcome data were recorded and comparisons were made between those patients who had score applied on admission with those that did not. A CURB 65 score was assigned to all patients using data from the patient record, and admission decisions were compared. Results:
Only 9 (5.2%) CAP patients had the ‘CURB 65’ score applied at admission. The overall mortality rate was 3.4%. On applying a score to all cases retrospectively, appropriate admission decisions were made for patients with moderate or severe pneumonia and outcome was in accordance with published results. However, 23 (13%) patients age <65 with mild CAP and no comorbidities were admitted in spite of guideline recommendation for community care. Conclusions:
These data demonstrate that clinical decision making in respect of moderate or severe CAP is the same whether or not a pneumonia severity score is applied. However, routine use of the score will identify patients with mild CAP thus potentially reducing unnecessary admission.