Purpose: This study aimed to determine if sequential deployment of a nurse-led Rapid Response Team (RRT) and an intensivist-led Medical Emergency Team (MET) for critically ill patients in the Emergency Department (ED) and acute care wards improved hospital-wide cardiac arrest rates.
Methods: In this single-center, retrospective observational cohort study, we compared the cardiac arrest rates per 1000 patient-days during two time periods. Our hospital instituted a nurse-led RRT in 2012 and added an intensivist-led MET in 2014. We compared the cardiac arrest rates during the nurse-led RRT period and the combined RRT-MET period. With the sequential approach, nurse-led RRT evaluated and managed rapid response calls in acute care wards and if required escalated care and co-managed with an intensivist-led MET. We specifically compared the rates of pulseless electrical activity (PEA) in the two periods. We also looked at the cardiac arrest rates in the ED as RRT-MET co-managed patients with the ED team.
Results: Hospital-wide cardiac arrests decreased from 2.2 events per 1000 patient-days in the nurse-led RRT period to 0.8 events per 1000 patient-days in the combined RRT and MET period (p-value = 0.001). Hospital-wide PEA arrests and shockable rhythms both decreased significantly. PEA rhythms significantly decreased in acute care wards and the ED.
Conclusion: Implementing an intensivist-led MET-RRT significantly decreased the overall cardiac arrest rate relative to the rate under a nurse-led RRT model. Additional MET capabilities and early initiation of advanced, time-sensitive therapies likely had the most impact.