Objectives: This study aims to investigate whether combining scoring systems with monocyte distribution width (MDW) improves early sepsis detection in older adults in the emergency department (ED). Methods: In this prospective observational study, we enrolled older adults aged ≥60 years who presented with confirmed infectious diseases to the ED. Three scoring systems - namely quick sepsis-related organ failure assessment (qSOFA), Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS), and National Early Warning Score (NEWS), and biomarkers including MDW, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and C-reactive protein (CRP), were assessed in the ED. Logistic regression models were used to construct sepsis prediction models. Results: After propensity score matching, we included 522 and 2088 patients with and without sepsis in our analysis from January 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021. NEWS ≥5 and MEWS ≥3 exhibited a moderate-to-high sensitivity and a low specificity for sepsis, whereas qSOFA score ≥2 demonstrated a low sensitivity and a high specificity. When combined with biomarkers, the NEWS-based, the MEWS-based, and the qSOFA-based models exhibited improved diagnostic accuracy for sepsis detection without CRP inclusion (c-statistics=0.842, 0.842, and 0.826, respectively). Of the three models, MEWS ≥3 with white blood cell (WBC) count ≥11 × 109/L, NLR ≥8, and MDW ≥20 demonstrated the highest diagnostic accuracy in all age subgroups (c-statistics=0.886, 0.825, and 0.822 in patients aged 60-74, 75-89, and 90-109 years, respectively). Conclusions: Our novel scoring system combining MEWS with WBC, NLR, and MDW effectively detected sepsis in older adults.
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