Insights from Dr. William Knaus, Creator of the APACHE II Score

The APACHE II Score is the most-referenced risk score for ICU mortality, with over 15,000 citations in PubMed since its publication 22 years ago, and is still used today both clinically and in research. We talked with Dr. William Knaus, first author on the APACHE paper, about his experience in developing the APACHE II Score, as well as the increasing need for technology in healthcare (and its disappointing uptake and implementation).

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Dr. William Knaus

When we started [developing APACHE] in the 1970s, DRGs [diagnosis-related groups] were just coming on the scene, and obviously they were oriented towards the business and financing aspects of healthcare. There’s little correlation to the clinical. But people were relying on DRGs as a way to classify and identify patients, especially in the ICU. So it was important at that time to not so much reinvent the diagnostic system, but to talk about how patients come in at different levels of severity. And at that time, there was really nothing out there. Continue reading “Insights from Dr. William Knaus, Creator of the APACHE II Score”

“Doc, do I really need this operation? What are the TRUE risks?” Improving the conversation around surgical risk using evidence-based medicine

A 70-year-old woman with peptic ulcer disease comes to the ED with sudden severe abdominal pain. She also has a history of diabetes and hypertension, both well controlled with oral medication. Her vitals at triage show low-grade tachycardia but are otherwise within normal limits. She is peritoneal on exam and an upright chest x-ray reveals free air. While labs are pending, she is made NPO and started on IV fluid resuscitation.

You are the general surgeon called to see the patient, and your history and Continue reading ““Doc, do I really need this operation? What are the TRUE risks?” Improving the conversation around surgical risk using evidence-based medicine”