Outcome scores have been promoted as adjuncts to clinical decision making, especially when further care is thought to be futile. The Pediatric Risk of Mortality score is used to calculate the risk of mortality for patients admitted to pediatric intensive care units. In this article the Pediatric Risk of Mortality score in evaluated for its ability to contribute to individual patient care decisions in the context of clinical practice. Through analysis several features of the Pediatric Risk of Mortality score were identified that require discretion if the score is to be used in decisions involving individual patients. These features include variability and bias introduced in data collection and data presentation. Also, outcome scores do not allow for the incorporation of patient and family values into the decision process. Outcome scores can provide some adjunctive information to clinicians, but they should be used with caution when making patient care decisions. Use of Pediatric Risk of Mortality scores in clinical practice must be tempered with a knowledge of the limitations of the scores, individual patient variability, the conditions under which the scores have been validated and collected and, most importantly, an awareness that outcome scores do not take into account the caregiver and patient values that are inherent in any treatment decision.

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