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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The epidemiology of adult Rapid Response Team patients in Australia

D Jones
Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 2014, 42 (2): 213-9
24580387
Rapid Response Teams (RRT) are specialised teams that review deteriorating ward patients in an attempt to prevent morbidity and mortality. Most studies have assessed the effect of implementing an RRT into a hospital. There is much less literature on the characteristics and outcomes of RRT patients themselves. This article reviews the epidemiology of adult RRT patients in Australia and proposes three models of RRT syndromes. The number of RRT calls varies considerably in Australian hospitals from 1.35 to 71.3/1000 hospital admissions. Common causes of RRT calls include sepsis, atrial fibrillation, seizures and pulmonary oedema. Approximately 20% of patients to whom an RRT has responded have more than one RRT call, and up to one-third have issues around end-of-life care. Calls are least common overnight. Between 10 to 25% of patients are admitted to a critical care area after the call. The in-hospital mortality for RRT patients is approximately 25% overall but only 15% in patients without a limitation of medical therapy. RRT syndromes can be conceptually described by the trigger for the call (e.g. hypotension) or the clinical condition causing the call (e.g. sepsis). Alternatively, the RRT call can be described by the major theme of the call: "end-of-life care", "requiring critical care" and "stable enough to initially remain on the ward". Based on these themes, education strategies and quality improvement initiatives may be developed to reduce the incidence of RRT calls, further improving patient outcome.

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