Association of Pediatric Medical Emergency Teams With Hospital Mortality

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Implementation of medical emergency teams has been identified as a potential strategy to reduce hospital deaths, because these teams respond to patients with acute physiological decline in an effort to prevent in-hospital cardiac arrest. However, prior studies of the association between medical emergency teams and hospital mortality have been limited and typically have not accounted for preimplementation mortality trends.


Within the Pediatric Health Information System for freestanding pediatric hospitals, annual risk-adjusted mortality rates were calculated for sites between 2000 and 2015. A random slopes interrupted time series analysis then examined whether implementation of a medical emergency team was associated with lower-than-expected mortality rates based on preimplementation trends.


Across 38 pediatric hospitals, mean annual hospital admission volume was 15 854 (range, 6684–33 024), and there were a total of 1 659 059 hospitalizations preimplementation and 4 392 392 hospitalizations postimplementation. Before medical emergency team implementation, hospital mortality decreased by 6.0% annually (odds ratio [OR], 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92–0.96) across all hospitals. After medical emergency team implementation, hospital mortality continued to decrease by 6% annually (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.93–0.95), with no deepening of the mortality slope (ie, not lower OR) in comparison with the preimplementation trend, for the overall cohort (P=0.98) or when analyzed separately within each of the 38 study hospitals. Five years after medical emergency team implementation across study sites, there was no difference between predicted (hospital mean of 6.18 deaths per 1000 admissions based on preimplementation trends) and actual mortality rates (hospital mean of 6.48 deaths per 1000 admissions; P=0.57).


Implementation of medical emergency teams in a large sample of pediatric hospitals in the United States was not associated with a reduction in hospital mortality beyond existing preimplementation trends.

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