BACKGROUND The Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) 3 has recently been developed, but not yet validated in surgical intensive care unit (ICU) patients. We compared the performance of SAPS 3 with SAPS II and the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score in surgical ICU patients. METHODS Prospectively collected data from all patients admitted to a German university hospital postoperative ICU between August 2004 and December 2005 were analysed. The probability of ICU mortality was calculated for SAPS II, APACHE II, adjusted APACHE II (adj-APACHE II), SAPS 3, and SAPS 3 customized for Europe [C-SAPS3 (Eu)] using standard formulas. To improve calibration of the prognostic models, a first-level customization was performed, using logistic regression on the original scores, and the corresponding probability of ICU death was calculated for the customized scores (C-SAPS II, C-SAPS 3, and C-APACHE II). RESULTS The study included 1851 patients. Hospital mortality was 9%. Hosmer and Lemeshow statistics showed poor calibration for SAPS II, APACHE II, adj-APACHE II, SAPS 3, and C-SAPS 3 (Eu), but good calibration for C-SAPS II, C-APACHE II, and C-SAPS 3. Discrimination was generally good for all models [area under the receiver operating characteristic curve ranged from 0.78 (C-APACHE II) to 0.89 (C-SAPS 3)]. The C-SAPS 3 score appeared to have the best calibration curve on visual inspection. CONCLUSIONS In this group of surgical ICU patients, the performance of SAPS 3 was similar to that of APACHE II and SAPS II. Customization improved the calibration of all prognostic models.
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