The impact of implementing a rapid response system: A comparison of cardiopulmonary arrests and mortality among four teaching hospitals in Australia

Jack Chen, Lixin Ou, Ken Hillman, Arthas Flabouris, Rinaldo Bellomo, Stephanie J. Hollis, Hassan Assareh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To compare clinical outcomes between a teaching hospital with a mature rapid response system (RRS), with three similar teaching hospitals without a RRS in Sydney, Australia. Methods: For the period 2002-2009, we compared a teaching hospital with a mature RRS, with three similar teaching hospitals without a RRS. Two non-RRS hospitals began implementing the system in 2009 and a third in January 2010. We compared the rates of in-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest (IHCA), IHCA-related mortality, overall hospital mortality and 1-year post discharge mortality after IHCA between the RRS hospital and the non-RRS hospitals based on three separate analyses: (1) pooled analysis during 2002-2008; (2) before-after difference between 2008 and 2009; (3) after implementation in 2009. Results: During the 2002-2008 period, the mature RRS hospital had a greater than 50% lower IHCA rate, a 40% lower IHCA-related mortality, and 6% lower overall hospital mortality. Compared to 2008, in their first year of RRS (2009) two hospitals achieved a 22% reduction in IHCA rate, a 22% reduction in IHCA-related mortality and an 11% reduction in overall hospital mortality. During the same time, the mature RRS hospital showed no significant change in those outcomes but, in 2009, it still achieved a crude 20% lower IHCA rate, and a 14% lower overall hospital mortality rate. There was no significant difference in 1-year post-discharge mortality for survivors of IHCA over the study period. Conclusions: Implementation of a RRS was associated with a significant reduction in IHCA, IHCA-related mortality and overall hospital mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1281
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac arrests
  • Hospital mortality
  • Medical emergency team
  • Rapid response systems
  • Rapid response team
  • Unexpected deaths

Cite this