Evaluation of Simplified Acute Physiology Score 3 performance: a systematic review of external validation studies

Simplified Acute Physiology Score 3 (SAPS 3) was the first critical care prognostic model developed from worldwide data. We aimed to systematically review studies that assessed the prognostic performance of SAPS 3 general and customized models for predicting hospital mortality in adult patients admitted to the ICU.

Medline, Lilacs, Scielo and Google Scholar were searched to identify studies which assessed calibration and discrimination of general and customized SAPS 3 equations. Additionally, we decided to evaluate the correlation between trial size (number of included patients) and the Hosmer-Lemeshow (H-L) statistics value of the SAPS 3 models.

A total of 28 studies were included. Of these, 11 studies (42.8%) did not find statistically significant mis-calibration for the SAPS 3 general equation. There was a positive correlation between number of included patients and higher H-L statistics, that is, a statistically significant mis-calibration of the model (r = 0.747, P <0.001). Customized equations for major geographic regions did not have statistically significant departures from perfect calibration in 9 of 19 studies. Five studies (17.9%) developed a regional customization and in all of them this new model was not statistically different from a perfect calibration for their populations. Discrimination was at least very good in 24 studies (85.7%).

Statistically significant departure from perfect calibration for the SAPS 3 general equation was common in validation studies and was correlated with larger studies, as should be expected, since H-L statistics (both C and H) are strongly dependent on sample size This finding was also present when major geographic customized equations were evaluated. Local customizations, on the other hand, improved SAPS 3 calibration. Discrimination was almost always very good or excellent, which gives excellent perspectives for local customization when a precise local estimate is needed.


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