Modified early obstetric warning scores: A promising tool but more evidence and standardization is required

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 2019, 98 (1), pp. 7 - 10
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© 2018 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG). Early warning systems involve the routine monitoring and recording of vital signs or clinical observations on specifically designed charts with linked escalation protocols. Meeting criteria for abnormal physiological parameters triggers a color-coded or weighted scoring system aimed to guide the frequency of monitoring, need for, and urgency of clinical review. Color-coded systems trigger a clinical response when one or more abnormal observation is recorded in the red zone or two or more mildly abnormal parameters in the amber zone. The principle of maternity-specific early warning systems to structure surveillance for hospitalized women is intuitive. The widespread use and policy support, including recommendations following confidential enquiries and from the National Health Service Litigation Authority, is not, however, currently backed up by a strong evidence base. Research is required to develop predictive models and validate evidence-based maternity-specific early warning systems in the general maternity population.
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