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Reducing in-hospital cardiac arrests and hospital mortality by introducing a medical emergency team

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To prospectively evaluate the implementation of a rapid response team in the form of a medical emergency team (MET) with regard to cardiac arrests and hospital mortality.


Prospective before-and-after trial of implementation of a MET at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. All adult patients, apart from cardiothoracic, admitted to the hospital were regarded as participants in the study. A control period of 5 years and 203,892 patients preceded the 2-year intervention period of 73,825 patients.

Main results

Number of MET calls was 9.3 per 1,000 hospital admissions. Cardiac arrests per 1,000 admissions decreased from 1.12 to 0.83, OR 0.74 (95% CI 0.55–0.98, p = 0.035). Adjusted for age, sex, hospital length of stay, acute/elective admission as well as co-morbidities, MET implementation was associated with a reduction in total hospital mortality by 10%, OR 0.90 (95% CI 0.84–0.97), p = 0.003. Hospital mortality was also reduced for medical patients by 12%, OR 0.88 (95% CI 0.81–0.96, p = 0.002) and for surgical patients not operated upon by 28%, OR 0.72 (95% CI 0.56–0.92, p = 0.008).

For patients fulfilling the MET criteria

Thirty-day mortality pre-MET was 25% versus 7.9% following MET compared with historical controls. Similarly, 180-day mortality was 37.5% versus 15.8%, respectively.


Implementing the MET team was associated with significant improvement in both cardiac arrest rate and overall adjusted hospital mortality. Significant reductions in hospital mortality for un-operated surgical patients as well as for medical patients were also seen. Thus, introduction of the MET seemed to improve outcome for hospitalized patients.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the invaluable help and support with implementing and running the MET from Rolf Söderlund, RN, Eva-Maria Wallin, RN, Åsa Bengtsson, RN and Katarina Karlsson, RN. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all staff at the Karolinska making the MET work. This study was supported by grants from the Laerdal foundation and funds from the Karolinska Institute.

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Correspondence to David Konrad.

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Konrad, D., Jäderling, G., Bell, M. et al. Reducing in-hospital cardiac arrests and hospital mortality by introducing a medical emergency team. Intensive Care Med 36, 100–106 (2010).

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