Objective: To describe predictive and descriptive general scores that can be used to estimate the severity of illness in critically ill children.
Design: Review of the medical literature.
Setting: Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs).
Patients: Critically ill children.
Measurements and Main Results: Two predictive scores are frequently used in PICUs: the Pediatric Risk of Mortality III score and the Pediatric Index of Mortality 2. The data considered in these scores are collected at baseline. Predictive scores can be used to compare expected and observed mortality in PICUs or to estimate the balance in the baseline severity of illness of patients included in the different arms of a randomized clinical trial. Only one descriptive score is validated to estimate the severity of cases of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in PICUs, namely, the Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction score. The data required to calculate this score are collected from baseline to discharge from the PICU or up to 2 hrs before death in the PICU. The Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction score can be used to describe the clinical outcome of patients during their stay in a PICU.
Conclusion: Pediatric Risk of Mortality III, Pediatric Index of Mortality 2, and Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction scores are the best available tools to estimate the severity of illness in critically ill children.