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Rapid Response Teams Can Save Hospitalized Kids
Date:11/20/2007

Coordinated care boosts survival of very sick children, study finds

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Incorporating a rapid response team of experts at a children's hospital can cut rates of patient deaths, heart attacks and respiratory arrests outside the intensive care unit, a new study suggests.

"This is the first paper to show an improvement in mortality, so that adds to the potential that having rapid response teams can really change the outcome," said Dr. Richard Brilli, author of an editorial that accompanies the article in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"This validates with research that this is a good process. It's sound, reliable and shows an improvement in outcomes," added Audrey Hubbard, director of children's services at The Children's Hospital at Scott & White in Temple, Texas.

A rapid response team (RRT) is composed of experts from different disciplines who are available 24-7 to evaluate patients who are hospitalized but not in the intensive care unit (ICU). The experts are frequently trained in ICU procedures.

Such teams have been extensively studied and have been shown to decrease mortality and cardiopulmonary arrest rates in hospitalized adults. The research in children is more limited.

"In pediatrics, there have only been three papers [including the current one], and that's not a very robust literature yet to say this is right or wrong," Brilli said.

Two of those papers (one led by Brilli) showed a benefit in cardiopulmonary arrest rates without a benefit in mortality.

There is a clear need for some kind of intervention, however.

"[There are] children who have deterioration while in the hospital, so much so that they end up having a cardiopulmonary arrest," Brilli said. "The question is what is the best method to recognize that patient who is getting sicker and do something about it befo
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