From Modern Healthcare:
Rapid-response teams do not appear to have a significant impact on reducing cardiac arrest or deaths in hospitals, according to a new study published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers studied the use of rapid-response teams consisting of intensive-care unit nurses and respiratory therapists at 404-bed St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City (Mo.), and their association with lower hospitalwide cardiopulmonary arrest and hospital mortality rates. Despite support from patient-safety advocates like the Institute for Healthcare Research for hospitals to use rapid-response teams, the researchers said they couldn’t determine a meaningful link between their use and fewer deaths.
The researchers conducted the study from Jan. 1, 2004 to Aug. 31, 2007, first recording cases in which patients coded or died for 18 months, then educating hospital staff about the use of rapid-response teams and implementing the teams for another 18-month period. Cardiac fatality rates after cardiopulmonary arrest were similar during both time periods—77.9% prior to implementing the teams and 76.1% after implementation. In addition, hospital death rates also were not significantly changed: There were 3.22 deaths per 100 admissions before the use of teams and 3.09 deaths per 100 admissions after, according to the study.
“We believe that this study provides important new insights regarding the effectiveness and limitations of rapid-response team intervention and raises critical questions about whether recommendations to disseminate rapid-response teams nationally are warranted without a demonstrable mortality benefit,” the researchers said in a written statement.