Antecedents to and outcomes for in-hospital cardiac arrests in Australian hospitals with mature medical emergency teams: A multicentre prospective observational study

The ANZ-CODE Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The epidemiology and predictability of in-hospital cardiac arrests (IHCAs) in hospitals with established medical emergency teams (METs) is underinvestigated. Objectives: We categorised IHCAs into three categories: “possible suboptimal end-of-life planning” (possible SELP), “potentially predictable”, or “sudden and unexpected” using age, Charlson Comorbidity Index, place of residence, functional independence, along with documented vital signs, K+ and HCO3 in the period prior to the IHCA. We also described the differences in characteristics and outcomes amongst these three categories of IHCAs. Methods: This was a prospective observational study (1st July 2017 to 9th August 2018) of adult (18 years) IHCA patients in wards of seven Australian hospitals with well-established METs. Results: Amongst 152 IHCA patients, 145 had complete data. The number (%) classified as possible SELP, potentially predictable, and sudden and unexpected IHCA was 50 (34.5%), 52 (35.8%), and 43 (29.7%), respectively. Amongst the 52 potentially predictable patients, six (11.5%) had missing vital signs in the preceding 6 hr, 18 (34.6%) breached MET criteria in the prior 24 hr but received no MET call, and 6 (11.5%) had a MET call but remained on the ward. Abnormal K+ and HCO3 was present in 15 of 51 (29.5%) and 13 of 51 (25.5%) of such patients, respectively. The 43 sudden and unexpected IHCA patients were mostly (97.6%) functionally independent and had the lowest median Charlson Comorbidity Index. In-hospital mortality for IHCAs classified as possible SELP, potentially predictable, and sudden and unexpected was 76.0%, 61.5%, and 44.2%, respectively (p = 0.007). Only four of 12 (33.3%) possible SELP survivors had a good functional outcome. Conclusions: In seven Australian hospitals with mature METs, only one-third of IHCAs were sudden and unexpected. Improving end-of-life care in elderly comorbid patients and enhancing the response to objective signs of deterioration may further reduce IHCAs in the Australian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1066
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Clinical deterioration
  • End-of-life care
  • In-hospital cardiac arrest
  • Medical emergency team
  • Rapid response system
  • Rapid response team

Cite this