The Medical Emergency Team system: a two hospital comparison

Lis Young, Margaret Donald, Michael Parr, Ken Hillman
Resuscitation 2008, 77 (2): 180-8

AIM: To compare activity and outcomes of a mature Medical Emergency Team (MET) in two hospitals. SETTING AND POPULATIONS: A Tertiary Referral Hospital (TRH) and a Metropolitan General Hospital (MGH) who combined have approximately 82,000 admissions annually with 38,000 patients meeting the eligibility criteria. The population included all admissions to the two hospitals aged 15 years and over with a stay>1 day (12 months period). Admissions that had a MET call originating in general wards were defined as Admissions Associated with a MET call (AAMET).

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of MET call audit forms, a Death Review database, and routinely collected hospital data for the period 1st October 2004 to 30th September 2005, inclusive. Chronic morbidity was calculated as a Charlson Index (CI) score over previous visits and admissions using ICD10 & ICD9 diagnosis and procedure codes.

RESULTS: There were 633 and 349 AAMETs. The incidence rates (MET calls/1000 admissions) were 37.6 and 34.1. They were associated with being elderly; males; higher CI scores; surgical admissions, Emergency Department (ED) admissions, and longer length of stay (LOS). A systolic BP<90mm Hg, and "worried" were the most frequent MET call criteria. There were 27 (4.3%) and 9 (2.6%) deaths following a MET call, of these 17 and 5 had Cardiac Arrest (CA) as the reason for the call. Death occurred for 192 and 54 AAMETs, only 38 (20%) and 14 (26%) were Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) deaths. One hundred and forty-seven (23.2%) and eighty-seven (24.9%) AAMETs had a MET call within 24h of transfer from a critical care area; the proportions of transfers differed significantly between the two hospitals.

CONCLUSION: A well established MET system identified similar AAMET populations from two different hospital populations. Sick, elderly, and surgical rather than medical patients were associated with MET activity in both hospitals. Further research is needed to estimate the impact of increased monitoring and interventions on patient outcomes, and the role of MET teams in end of life decision-making.

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