Clinical outcomes of patients seen by Rapid Response Teams: A template for benchmarking international teams

Jonathan Bannard-Smith, Geoffrey K. Lighthall, Christian P. Subbe, Lesley Durham, John Welch, Rinaldo Bellomo, Daryl A. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Aim The study was developed to characterize short-term outcomes of deteriorating ward patients triggering a Rapid Response Team (RRT), and describe variability between hospitals or groups thereof. Methods We performed an international prospective study of Rapid Response Team (RRT) activity over a 7-day period in February 2014. Investigators at 51 acute hospitals across Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, USA and United Kingdom collected data on all patients triggering RRT review concerning the nature, trigger and immediate outcome of RRT review. Further follow-up at 24 h following RRT review focused on patient orientated outcomes including need for admission to critical care, change in limitations of therapy and all cause mortality. Results We studied 1188 RRT activations. Derangement of vital signs as measured by the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) was more common in non-UK hospitals (p = 0.03). Twenty four hour mortality after RRT review was 10.1% (120/1188). Urgent transfer to ICU or the operating theatre occurred in 24% (284/1188) and 3% (40/1188) of events, respectively. Patients in the UK were less likely to be admitted to ICU (31% vs. 22%; p = 0.017) and their median (IQR) time to ICU admission was longer [4.4 (2.0–11.8) vs. 1.5 (0.8–4.4) h; p < 0.001]. RRT involvement lead to new limitations in care in 28% of the patients not transferring to the ICU; in the UK such limitations were instituted in 21% of patients while this occurred in 40% of non-UK patients (p < 0.001). Conclusion Among patients triggering RRT review, 1 in 10 died within 24 h; 1 in 4 required ICU admission, and 1 in 4 had new limitations in therapy implemented. We provide a template for an international comparison of outcomes at RRT level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute illness
  • Critical care outreach
  • Early warning score
  • Medical emergency teams
  • Rapid Response Teams

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