Objective: To identify factors that predict outcome in patients receiving a Medical Emergency Team review.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Setting: Tertiary hospital.
Patients: Cohort of 228 patients receiving one or more Medical Emergency Team reviews during daytime hours over a 1-year-period. Control cohort of all patients (n = 900) receiving a Medical Emergency Team review in the same period.
Measurements and results: We prospectively collected information from patients receiving a Medical Emergency Team review during daytime hours from Monday to Friday (audit group) including the clinical cause of deterioration and timing of call in relation to the first documented Medical Emergency Team call criterion (activation delay). We also collected information from the hospital Medical Emergency Team database regarding all patients visited by the Medical Emergency Team during the same period (complete cohort). Audit group patients had several similar characteristics to complete cohort patients but were less likely to be not-for-resuscitation before Medical Emergency Team review and more likely to receive a Medical Emergency Team review because of hypotension, change in neurological status and oliguria. Delayed Medical Emergency Team activation and not-for resuscitation orders were the only factors to show an independent statistical association with mortality (OR 2.53, 95% CI: 1.2-5.31, P = 0.01 and OR 5.63, 95% CI: 2.81-11.28, P < 0.01, respectively).
Conclusion: Delayed Medical Emergency Team activation and NFR orders are the strongest independent predictors of mortality in patients receiving a Medical Emergency Team review. Avoidance of delayed Medical Emergency Team activation should be a priority for hospitals operating rapid response systems.