Repeat Rapid Response Events in Children: Characteristics and Outcomes

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2018 Apr;19(4):361-368. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001457.


Objective: We describe the characteristics and outcomes of pediatric repeat rapid response events within a single hospitalization. We hypothesized that triggers for repeat rapid response and initial rapid response events are similar, and repeat rapid response events are associated with high prevalence of medical complexity and worse outcomes.

Design: A 3-year retrospective study.

Setting: High-volume tertiary academic pediatric hospital.

Patients: All rapid response events were reviewed to identify repeat rapid response events.

Intervention: None.

Measurements and main results: Patient demographics, rapid response triggers, primary clinical diagnoses, illness acuity scores, medical interventions, transfers to ICU, occurrence of critical deterioration, and mortality were reviewed. We reviewed 146 patients with 309 rapid response events (146 initial rapid response and 163 repeat rapid response: 36% < 24 hr, 38% 24 hr to 7 d, and 26% > 7 d after initial rapid response). Median age was 3 years, and 60% were males. Eighty-five percentage of repeat rapid response occurred in medical complexity patients. The triggers for 71% of all repeat rapid response matched with those of initial rapid response. Transfer to ICU occurred in 69 (47%) of initial rapid response and 124 (76%) of repeat rapid response (p < 0.01). The median hospital stay was 11 and 30 days for previously healthy and medical complexity patients, respectively (p = 0.16). ICU readmission at repeat rapid response was associated with longer hospital stay (p < 0.01). Mortality during hospitalization occurred in 14% (all medically complex) of patients after repeat rapid response. Hospital mortality after rapid response is 4.4% per our center's administrative data and 6.7% according to published multicenter data.

Conclusions: Prevalence of medical complexity was high in patients with repeat rapid response compared with that reported for pediatric hospitalizations. Triggers between initial and repeat rapid response events correlated. Transfer to ICU was more likely after repeat rapid response and among repeat rapid response, events with ICU readmissions had a longer length of ICU and hospital stay. Mortality for the repeat rapid response cohort was higher than that for overall rapid responses in our center and per published reports from other centers.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Illness / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospital Rapid Response Team / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors