Epidemiology and patient outcome after medical emergency team calls triggered by atrial fibrillation

Antoine Schneider, Paolo Calzavacca, Daryl Jones, Rinaldo Bellomo

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) in hospitalized patients may lead to activation of the medical emergency team (MET). We sought to assess the baseline characteristics and outcomes of the patients presenting AF as a cause of MET call activation. Methods: Using a prospectively constructed MET database, we retrospectively reviewed all patients with AF as a trigger for MET activation between August 2005 and April 2010. Demographics, principal diagnostic and outcome of these patients were compared with those of a control group of patients matched for age, sex and ward of origin, randomly selected from the database. Results: We studied 5431 MET calls of which 557 (10.3%), in 458 patients were triggered by AF. Mean age for AF patients was 74.8 years, 230 (50.2%) were female and 271 (59.1%) were in a surgical ward. 92 (20.1%) AF patients died in hospital compared with 131 (28.6%) in the control group. Among the 336 patients without limitations of medical therapy (LOMT), 46 (13.7%) died in hospital. In total, 46 (13.7%) patients were transferred to a higher level care ward while 290 (86.3%) remained on the ward. Only 2 (4.3%) of these patients died compared with 44 (15.2%) among those who remained in the general ward (p= 0.03). Conclusions: In our hospital, AF triggers one tenth of MET activations and mortality associated with it is high even when issues of LOMT are excluded. The decreased mortality among patients admitted to a higher level ward suggests that some of these deaths may be avoidable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-414
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Epidemiology
  • Medical emergency team
  • Mortality
  • Rapid response system

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