Letters National early warning score

National early warning score (NEWS) is not suitable for all patients

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e5875 (Published 04 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5875
  1. Graham M Teasdale, emeritus professor of neurosurgery1
  1. 1University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. graham.teasdale{at}hotmail.co.uk

McGinlay and Pearse worry about the use of the national early warning score (NEWS) in people recovering from brain injury,1 2 but its insensitivity in people developing acute brain insults is also worrying.

In the assessment of brain dysfunction, NEWS depends solely on the “alert, verbal, pain, unresponsive (AVPU)” system. Although useful in initial triage, such simplicity is inadequate in monitoring hospital patients at risk of neurological deterioration. Crucially, AVPU findings are compressed to only …

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