Context: Introduction of a rapid response team (RRT) has been shown to decrease mortality and cardiopulmonary arrests outside of the intensive care unit (ICU) in adult inpatients. No published studies to date show significant reductions in mortality or cardiopulmonary arrests in pediatric inpatients.
Objective: To determine the effect on hospital-wide mortality rates and code rates outside of the ICU setting after RRT implementation at an academic children's hospital.
Design, setting, and participants: A cohort study design with historical controls at a 264-bed, free-standing, quaternary care academic children's hospital. Pediatric inpatients who spent at least 1 day on a medical or surgical ward between January 1, 2001, and March 31, 2007, were included. A total of 22,037 patient admissions and 102,537 patient-days were evaluated preintervention (before September 1, 2005), and 7257 patient admissions and 34,420 patient-days were evaluated postintervention (on or after September 1, 2005).
Intervention: The RRT included a pediatric ICU-trained fellow or attending physician, ICU nurse, ICU respiratory therapist, and nursing supervisor. This team was activated using standard criteria and was available at all times to assess, treat, and triage decompensating pediatric inpatients.
Main outcome measures: Hospital-wide mortality rates and code (respiratory and cardiopulmonary arrests) rates outside of the ICU setting. All outcomes were adjusted for case mix index values.
Results: After RRT implementation, the mean monthly mortality rate decreased by 18% (1.01 to 0.83 deaths per 100 discharges; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5%-30%; P = .007), the mean monthly code rate per 1000 admissions decreased by 71.7% (2.45 to 0.69 codes per 1000 admissions), and the mean monthly code rate per 1000 patient-days decreased by 71.2% (0.52 to 0.15 codes per 1000 patient-days). The estimated code rate per 1000 admissions for the postintervention group was 0.29 times that for the preintervention group (95% likelihood ratio CI, 0.10-0.65; P = .008), and the estimated code rate per 1000 patient-days for the postintervention group was 0.28 times that for the preintervention group (95% likelihood ratio CI, 0.10-0.64; P = .007).
Conclusion: Implementation of an RRT was associated with a statistically significant reduction in hospital-wide mortality rate and code rate outside of the pediatric ICU setting.