Emergency Severity Index (ESI): A Triage Tool for Emergency Departments

Version 4

The Emergency Severity Index (ESI) is a five-level emergency department (ED) triage algorithm that provides clinically relevant stratification of patients into five groups from 1 (most urgent) to 5 (least urgent) on the basis of acuity and resource needs. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded initial work on the ESI.

Copyright Notice

ESI Algorithm

ESI Training Materials

The ESI materials, including four recorded lectures, 26 practice case videos, and an implementation handbook, are essential resources for ensuring that your emergency department staff are well trained in using ESI. The materials were previously available on DVD, so users who already have the DVD set do not need to replace any files. Users who got the DVD set before the handbook was updated in 2012 may want to download the newer version.

Where To Obtain Additional Information

For ESI Version 4 algorithm content and research-related questions, please email esitriage@yahoo.com. For information about ESI training, go to http://www.esitriage.org/.

For more information about the AHRQ program that supported the development of these products, please email lisa.krever@ahrq.hhs.gov.

Practice Cases

Videos of the 26 practice cases are available on YouTube:

  1. Pediatric Sprained Ankle - also includes introductory information
  2. Respiratory Distress
  3. Lump on Back
  4. Lower Abdominal Pain With Vaginal Bleeding
  5. Urinary Retention
  6. Dislocated Shoulder
  7. Cellulitis
  8. Elderly Patient With Pneumonia
  9. Laceration
  10. Hematemesis
  11. Headache
  12. Infected Wound
  13. Alcoholic With Head Injury
  14. Weak Male With Chronic Renal Failure
  15. Pediatric Trauma
  16. Hypertension
  17. Post Arrest
  18. Poison Ivy
  19. Possible Myocardial Infarction
  20. Epigastric Area Pressure
  21. Suicidal Ideation
  22. Weak and Dizzy
  23. Pediatric Fever
  24. Asthmatic Teen
  25. Urinary Tract Infection
  26. Conjunctivitis
Page last reviewed May 2018
Page originally created September 2012
Internet Citation: Emergency Severity Index (ESI): A Triage Tool for Emergency Departments. Content last reviewed May 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/hospital/esi/index.html