Validity of pneumonia severity assessment scores in Africa and South Asia : a systematic review and meta-analysis

Al Hussain, Sarah Khalid and Kurdi, Amanj and Abutheraa, Nouf and AlDawsari, Asma and Sneddon, Jacqueline and Godman, Brian and Seaton, Ronald Andrew (2021) Validity of pneumonia severity assessment scores in Africa and South Asia : a systematic review and meta-analysis. Healthcare, 9 (9). 1202. ISSN 2227-9032 (

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Background: Although community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) severity assessment scores are widely used, their validity in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) is not well defined. We aimed to investigate the validity and performance of the existing scores among adults in LMICs (Africa and South Asia). Methods: Medline, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus and Web of Science were searched to 21 May 2020. Studies evaluating a pneumonia severity score/tool among adults in these countries were included. A bivariate random-effects meta-analysis was performed to examine the scores’ performance in predicting mortality. Results: Of 9900 records, 11 studies were eligible, covering 12 tools. Only CURB-65 (Confusion, Urea, Respiratory Rate, Blood Pressure, Age ≥ 65 years) and CRB-65 (Confusion, Respiratory Rate, Blood Pressure, Age ≥ 65 years) were included in the meta-analysis. Both scores were effective in predicting mortality risk. Performance characteristics (with 95% Confidence Interval (CI)) at high (CURB-65 ≥ 3, CRB-65 ≥ 3) and intermediate-risk (CURB-65 ≥ 2, CRB-65 ≥ 1) cut-offs were as follows: pooled sensitivity, for CURB-65, 0.70 (95% CI = 0.25–0.94) and 0.96 (95% CI = 0.49–1.00), and for CRB-65, 0.09 (95% CI = 0.01–0.48) and 0.93 (95% CI = 0.50–0.99); pooled specificity, for CURB-65, 0.90 (95% CI = 0.73–0.96) and 0.64 (95% CI = 0.45–0.79), and for CRB-65, 0.99 (95% CI = 0.95–1.00) and 0.43 (95% CI = 0.24–0.64). Conclusions: CURB-65 and CRB-65 appear to be valid for predicting mortality in LMICs. CRB-65 may be employed where urea levels are unavailable. There is a lack of robust evidence regarding other scores, including the Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI).