Objective: To describe the reasons for, and immediate outcome following Medical Emergency Team (MET) activation.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of MET calls in 1998.
Results: There were 713 MET calls to 559 in-patients. Of the 559 patients 252 (45%) were admitted to ICU and 49 (6.9%) died during the MET response. The three commonest criteria for calling the MET were a fall in GCS>2 (n=155); a systolic blood pressure<90 mmHg (n=142) and a respiratory rate>35 (n=109). Cardiac arrests accounted for 61 calls and had an immediate mortality of 59%. The most common MET criterion associated with admission to ICU was a respiratory rate >35. Of patients who received MET calls based only on the 'worried' criterion 16% were admitted to ICU. The MET felt that a not-for-resuscitation order would have been appropriate in 130 cases (23%). NFR orders were documented during 27 of the MET calls.
Conclusions: The MET system provides objective and subjective criteria by which medical and nursing staff can identify patients who become acutely unwell. A high proportion of these patients will require admission to Intensive Care. The MET system also provides the opportunity to identify patients for whom an NFR order should be considered.