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Table 4 Nurses’ responses to disturbed physiology (MEW score 1 to 3) a : numbers of patients that should have triggered and did trigger responses in their first eight postoperative hours

From: Early warning scoring systems versus standard observations charts for wards in South Africa: a cluster randomized controlled trial

  Intervention arm n = 50 patients Control arm n = 55 patients
Parameter and MEW scores Number of MEWS trigger points Response to number of patients Number of MEWS trigger points Response to number of patients
  Yes (%) No (%)   Yes (%) No (%)
Respiratory rate MEWS
1 15 0 15 (100) 0 0 0
2 6 0 6 (100) 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 21 0 21 (100) 0 0 0
Heart rate MEWS
1 11 0 11 (100) 13 0 13 (100)
2 7 1 (14.3) 6 (85.7) 6 0 6 (100)
3 1 0 1 (100) 0 0 0
Total 19 1 (5.3) 18 (94.7) 19 0 19 (100)
Oxygen saturation MEWS
1 0 0 0 1 0 1 (100)
2 1 0 1 (100) 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 0 1 (100) 1 0 1 (100)
Systolic blood pressure MEWS
1 11 1 (9.1) 10 (90.9) 20 0 20 (100)
2 7 0 7 (100) 4 0 4 (100)
3 7 2 (28.6) 5 (71.4) 3 1 (33.3) 2 (66.7)
Total 25 3 (12.0) 22 (88.0) 27 1 (3.7) 26 (96.3)
Temperature MEWS
1 22 2 (9.1) 20 (90.9) 18 0 18 (100)
2 7 0 7 (100) 4 0 4 (100)
3 0 0 0 1 0 1 (100
Total 29 2 (6.9) 27 (93.1) 23 0 23 (100)
Level of consciousness MEWS
1 9 0 9 (100) 7 0 7 (100)
2 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 9 0 9 (100) 7 0 7 (100)
Urine output MEWS
1 11 0 11 (100) 5 0 5 (100)
2 6 0 6 (100) 4 0 4 (100)
3 7 1 (14.3) 6 (85.7) 7 1 (14.3) 6 (85.7)
Total 24 1 (4.2) 23 (95.8) 16 1 (6.3) 15 (93.7)
Overall total, primary outcome 128 7 (5.5) 121 (94.5) 93 2 (2.2) 91 (97.8)
  1. Intention-to-treat analysis.
  2. aNo distinction is made between lower and upper modified early warning score (MEWS) trigger points.
  3. 0 indicates no recordings.
  4. Excluding level of consciousness and urine output, which should be interpreted with caution, 46 patients (80.7%) in the intervention arm (n = 57) had one to three parameters with abnormal MEWS: 19 (33.3%) patients had one abnormal parameter; 17 (29.8%) had two abnormal parameters (including the three patients who died); and 10 (17.5%) had three abnormal parameters. Two (3.5%) patients had four abnormal parameters. Nine (15.8%) patients in the intervention arm had no abnormal parameters.
  5. In the control arm (n = 57), 45 (78.9%) patients had one to three parameters with abnormal MEWS: 26 (45.6%) patients had one abnormal parameter; 13 (22.8%) had two abnormal parameters; and six (10.5%) had three abnormal parameters. Twelve (21.0%) patients in the control arm had no abnormal parameters.