Objective: The effectiveness of rapid response teams remains controversial. However, many studied rapid response teams were not intensivist-led, had limited involvement beyond the initial activations, and did not provide post-ICU follow-up. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of implementing an intensivist-led multidisciplinary extended rapid response team on hospital-wide cardiopulmonary arrests and mortality.
Design: This was a pre-post rapid response team implementation study.
Setting: Tertiary care academic center in Saudi Arabia.
Patients: A total of 98,391 patients in the 2-yr pre-rapid response team and 157,804 patients in the 3-yr post-rapid response team implementation were evaluated.
Intervention: The rapid response team was activated by any health care provider based on pre-defined criteria and a four-member intensivist-led multidisciplinary rapid response team responded to provide the necessary management and disposition. The rapid response team function was extended to provide follow-up until clinical stabilization. In addition, the rapid response team provided a mandatory post-ICU follow-up for a minimum of 48 hrs.
Measurements and Main Results: The primary outcomes were cardiopulmonary arrests and mortality. After rapid response team implementation, non-ICU cardiopulmonary arrests decreased from 1.4 to 0.9 per 1,000 hospital admissions (relative risk, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.53–0.86; p = 0.001) and total hospital mortality decreased from 22.5 to 20.2 per 1,000 hospital admissions (relative risk, 0.90; 95% confidence interval, 0.85–0.95; p < 0.0001). For patients who required admission to the ICU, there was a significant reduction in the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores after rapid response team implementation from 29.3 ± 9.3 to 26.9 ± 8.5 (p < 0.0001), with reduction in hospital mortality from 57.4% to 48.7% (relative risk, 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.78–0.92; p < 0.0001). Do-not-resuscitate orders for ward referrals increased from 0.7 to 1.7 per 1,000 hospital admissions (relative risk, 2.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.95–3.42; p < 0.0001) and decreased for patients admitted to ICU from the wards from 30.5% to 26.1% (relative risk, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.74–0.99; p = 0.03). Additionally, ICU readmission rate decreased from 18.6 to 14.3 per 100 ICU alive discharges (relative risk, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.66–0.89; p < 0.0001) and post-ICU hospital mortality from 18.2% to 14.8% (relative risk, 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.72–0.99; p = 0.04).
Conclusion: The implementation of rapid response team was effective in reducing cardiopulmonary arrests and total hospital mortality for ward patients, improving the outcomes of patients who needed ICU admission and reduced readmissions and mortality of patients who were discharged from the ICU.