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Critical Care Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e31829e53b9
Feature Articles

Delayed Medical Emergency Team Calls and Associated Outcomes*

Boniatti, Márcio M. PhD, MD1; Azzolini, Neusa MD2; Viana, Marina V. MD2; Ribeiro, Berenice S. P. MD2; Coelho, Renata S. MD2; Castilho, Rodrigo K. MD2; Guimarães, Márcio R. MD2; Zorzi, Lia MD2; Schulz, Luis F. MD2; Filho, Edison M. Rodrigues MD2

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Abstract

Objective: To determine whether there was an association between delayed medical emergency team calls and mortality after a medical emergency team review.

Design: This was a prospective observational study.

Setting: A university-affiliated tertiary referral hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Patients: All patients were reviewed by the medical emergency team from July 2008 to December 2009.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and Main Results: There were 1,481 calls for 1,148 patients. Delayed medical emergency team calls occurred for 246 patients (21.4%). The criterion associated with delay was typically the same criterion for the subsequent medical emergency team call. Physicians had a greater prevalence of delayed medical emergency team calls (110 of 246 [44.7%]) than timely medical emergency team calls (267 of 902 [29.6%]; p < 0.001). The mortality at 30 days after medical emergency team review was higher among patients with delayed medical emergency team activation (152 [61.8%]) than patients receiving timely medical emergency team activation (378 [41.9%]; p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, delayed medical emergency team calls remained significantly associated with higher mortality.

Conclusions: Delayed medical emergency team calls are common and are independently associated with higher mortality. This result reaffirms the concept and need for a rapid response system.

© 2014 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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