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Factora F, Maheshwari K, Khanna S, Chahar P, Ritchey M, O’Hara J, Jr., Mascha EJ, Mi J, Halvorson S, Turan A, Ruetzler K: Effect of a Rapid Response Team on the Incidence of In-Hospital Mortality. Anesth Analg 2022; 135: 595-604

June 22, 2022

Approximately half of the life-limiting events, such as cardiopulmonary arrests or cardiac arrhythmias occurring in hospitals, are considered preventable. These critical events are usually preceded by clinical deterioration. Rapid response teams (RRTs) were introduced to intervene early in the course of clinical deterioration and possibly prevent progression to an event. An RRT was introduced at the Cleveland Clinic in 2009 and transitioned to an anesthesi- ologist-led system in 2012. We evaluated the association between in-hospital mortality and: (1) the introduction of the RRT in 2009 (primary analysis), and (2) introduction of the anesthesiolo- gist-led system in 2012 and other policy changes in 2014 (secondary analyses).
We conducted a single-center, retrospective analysis using the medical records of overnight hospitalizations from March 1, 2005, to December 31, 2018, at the Cleveland Clinic. We assessed the association between the introduction of the RRT in 2009 and in-hospital mortality using segmented regression in a generalized estimating equation model to account for within-subject correlation across repeated visits. Baseline potential confounders (demographic factors and surgery type) were controlled for using inverse probability of treatment weighting on the propensity score. We assessed whether in-hospital mortality changed at the start of the intervention and whether the temporal trend (slope) differed from before to after initiation. Analogous models were used for the secondary outcomes.
Of 628,533 hospitalizations in our data set, 177,755 occurred before and 450,778 after introduction of our RRT program. Introduction of the RRT was associated with a slight initial increase in in-hospital mortality (odds ratio [95% confidence interval {CI}], 1.17 [1.09–1.25]; P < .001). However, while the pre-RRT slope in in-hospital mortality over time was flat (odds ratio [95% CI] per year, 1.01 [0.98–1.04]; P = .60), the post-RRT slope decreased over time, with an odds ratio per additional year of 0.961 (0.955–0.968). This represented a significant improve- ment (P < .001) from the pre-RRT slope. CONCLUSIONS:
We found a gradual decrease in mortality over a 9-year period after introduction of an RRT program. Although mechanisms underlying this decrease are unclear, possibilities include optimization of RRT implementation, anesthesiology department leadership of the RRT program, and overall improvements in health care delivery over the study period. Our findings suggest that improvements in outcome after RRT introduction may take years to manifest. Further work is needed to better understand the effects of RRT implementation on in-hospital mortality. (Anesth Analg 2022;135:595–604)