Volume 102, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



There are an estimated 19.4 million sepsis cases every year, many of them in low-income countries. The newly adopted definition of sepsis uses Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score (SOFA), a score which is not feasible in many low-resource settings. A simpler quick-SOFA (qSOFA) based solely on vital signs score has been devised for identification of suspected sepsis. This study aimed to determine in-hospital prevalence and outcomes of sepsis, as defined as suspected infection and a qSOFA score of 2 or more, in two hospitals in Malawi. The secondary aim was to evaluate qSOFA as a predictor of mortality. A cross-sectional study of adult in-patients in two hospitals in Malawi was conducted using prospectively collected single-day point-prevalence data and in-hospital follow-up. Of 1,135 participants, 81 (7.1%) had sepsis. Septic patients had a higher hospital mortality rate (17.5%) than non-septic infected patients (9.0%, = 0.027, odds ratio 2.1 [1.1–4.3]), although the difference was not statistically significant after adjustment for baseline characteristics. For in-hospital mortality among patients with suspected infection, qSOFA ≥ 2 had a sensitivity of 31.8%, specificity of 82.1%, a positive predictive value of 17.5%, and a negative predictive value of 91.0%. In conclusion, sepsis is common and is associated with a high risk of death in admitted patients in hospitals in Malawi. In low-resource settings, qSOFA score that uses commonly available vital signs data may be a tool that could be used for identifying patients at risk—both for those with and without a suspected infection.


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  • Received : 26 Apr 2019
  • Accepted : 05 Nov 2019
  • Published online : 10 Feb 2020
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