The effectiveness of the South African Triage Score (SATS) in a rural emergency department
Objectives. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of the SATS in an emergency department (ED) in a rural setting in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
Methods. A prospective cross-sectional study undertaken over a 1-month period in June 2009 of patients in the ED of a government hospital in rural KZN, the referral centre for 22 peripheral hospitals. Data capture included physiological parameters, mobility and trauma scores, a list of selected clinical conditions (physician discriminator list), MEWS and SATS scores, final clinical diagnosis, and outcome in the ED (death, hospital admission or discharge). Outcome measures were under- and over-triage rates according to both systems.
Results. Over the study period, 589 patients were triaged and their data analysed. The MEWS under-triaged 15.1% (over-triaged 8.3%) of cases that needed admission, compared with an under-triage rate of 4.4% (over-triage rate 4.3%) when the SATS was used.
Conclusion. Our study supports use of the SATS as a primary triage score in South African urban and rural hospitals. The SATS is superior to the MEWS as a triage scoring system in a rural hospital ED in KZN, its rates of under- and over-triage falling within the limits of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT) guidelines.
K Rosedale, Anaesthetic Trainee, UK
Z A Smith, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester
H Davies, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
D Wood, Ngwelezane Hospital, Empangeni, Kwazulu Natal
Cite this article
Date published: 2011-07-25
Full text views: 6852