Implementation of Critical Care Response Teams in Ontario: Impact on the Outcomes of Surgical Patients

Ann Surg. 2022 Dec 1;276(6):1011-1016. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000004629. Epub 2020 Nov 17.


Objective: To evaluate whether introduction of CCRTs reduced mortality rates among patients who developed a postoperative complication, also referred to as FTR.

Background: CCRTs were introduced to improve patients' postoperative outcomes. Its effect on FTR continues to be actively investigated.

Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study using administrative data from Ontario, Canada. We identified 810,279 patients admitted to hospital for major surgical procedures between January 2004 and December 2014, with a washout period consisting of the 9 months before and after the implementation of CCRTs in January 2007. Difference-in-differences analysis among patients who developed a postoperative complication (n = 148,882) was used to estimate the association between CCRT implementation and FTR before and after CCRT implementation in hospitals that did - versus did not - implement CCRT during the study period.

Results: A total of 810,279 patients were included, of whom 148,882 (18.4%) developed a postoperative surgical complication. Among patients who developed a postoperative complication, the overall proportion of FTR was 9.2% (n = 13,659). Among patients in hospitals that introduced CCRT, the RR of FTR was 0.84, [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78-0.90] after implementation of CCRT, while over the same time period, the RR was 0.85 (95% CI 0.80-0.91) in hospitals that did not implement CCRT. The RR ratio (difference-indifferences) was 0.99 (95% CI 0.89-1.09). Among patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, the RR ratio was 0.84 (95% CI 0.75-0.95).

Conclusion: Although implementation of CCRTs in hospitals in Ontario, Canada, did not reduce FTR among all surgical patients having surgery, CCRTs may reduce the risk of FTR among patients having orthopedic surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies