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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The effect of Medical Emergency Teams (METs) on cardiopulmonary arrests (codes) and fatal codes remains unclear and widely debated.

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the implementation of a hospitalist-led MET and compare the number of code calls and code deaths before and after implementation.

DESIGN:

Interrupted time series.

SETTING:

Tertiary care academic medical center.

PATIENTS:

All hospitalized patients.

INTERVENTION:

Implementation of an MET, consisting of a critical care nurse, respiratory therapist, intravenous therapist, and the patient's physician.

MEASUREMENTS:

Number of MET calls, code calls, cardiac arrests and other medical crises, and code deaths per 1000 admissions, stratified by location (inside vs outside critical care).

RESULTS:

From implementation in March 2006 through December 2009, the MET logged 2717 calls, most commonly for respiratory distress (33%), cardiovascular instability (25%), and neurological abnormality (20%). Overall code calls declined significantly between pre-implementation and post-implementation of the MET from 7.30 (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.81, 9.16) to 4.21 (95% CI 3.42, 5.18) code calls per 1000 admissions. Outside of critical care, code calls declined from 4.70 (95% CI 3.92, 5.63) before the MET was implemented to 3.11 (95% CI 2.44, 3.97) afterwards, primarily due to a decrease in medical crises, which averaged 3.29 events per 1000 admissions (95% CI 2.70, 4.02) before implementation and decreased to 1.72 (95% CI 1.28, 2.31) afterwards. Code calls within critical care also declined. The rate of fatal codes was not affected.

CONCLUSIONS:

A hospitalist-led MET decreased code call rates but did not affect mortality rates. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2012;. © 2011 Society of Hospital Medicine