COVID-19 represented an important challenge to the Italian healthcare system (IHCS). Our main aim was to obtain evidence to support the use of modified national early warning score (m-NEWS) as an interdisciplinary, common, and universal scoring scale to quickly recognize patients with a risk of clinical deterioration before admission and during hospitalization. As a secondary goal, we tried to find a score threshold that can trigger patients' immediate medical review as a part of an optimal triaging protocol for an emergency setting where healthcare resources are overloaded. We performed a retrospective observational study. We included in our study all patients treated for COVID-19 infection in surgical departments between 01 March 2020 and 16 April 2020. Patients with negative test results for SARS-COV-2 were excluded. m-NEWS was obtained twice a day. Patients' m-NEWS were analyzed in order to verify the correlation between m-NEWS (at admission and m-NEWS variation 24 h after admission) and outcome (positive outcome-survival, negative outcome-death, or intensive care unit (ICU) transfer). We included a population-based sample of 225 SARS-COV-2-infected patients. Overall, the average age at hospitalization was 71 (ranging from 40 to 95). 144 (64%) patients were males and 81 (36%) females. m-NEWS values lower or equal to 7 were associated with the majority of the "recovered" population (100/132 75.75%) and at the same time with the minority of the "non-recovered" population (25/93 26.88%). For our sample, age is statistically correlated to the outcome but a triage protocol based solely on this variable is less effective than m-NEWS, which showed to be a reliable and easy-to-use score for first patient evaluation. Our observations pave the way towards further studies aiming at optimizing territorial and community healthcare management protocols.
- Respiratory failure