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Sick children benefit from rapid response teams (RRTs), just like adults. A team of care providers from different disciplines available to evaluate kids outside the ICU setting at children's hospitals who develop signs and symptoms of clinical deterioration can reduce mortality and code rates, a new study suggests.


Researchers looked at mortality and rates of cardiopulmonary arrests at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., before and after the facility added RRTs in September 2005. Researchers evaluated 22,037 patient admissions before the teams were implemented and 7,257 patient admissions afterward.


The teams included a pediatric ICU-trained fellow or attending physician, an ICU nurse, an ICU respiratory therapist, and a nursing supervisor. The teams were available 24/7 to evaluate non-ICU patients whose conditions were deteriorating and to address problems before they coded.


Within 1 month of the teams being implemented, mortality decreased. On average, monthly deaths decreased by 18% and the average monthly code rate per 1,000 admissions decreased by 72%.


The researchers estimated that implementing the RRTs was directly responsible for saving the lives of 33 children.




Sharek PJ, et al., Effect of a rapid response team on hospital-wide mortality and code rates outside the ICU in a children's hospital, JAMA, November 21, 2007; Nowak JE, Brilli RJ, Pediatric rapid response teams: Is it time? JAMA, November 21, 2007.