Deakin University
sprogis-physiological-2017.pdf (218.68 kB)

Physiological antecedents and ward clinician responses before medical emergency team activation

Download (218.68 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2017-03-01, 00:00 authored by Stephanie SprogisStephanie Sprogis, Judy CurreyJudy Currey, Julie ConsidineJulie Considine, Ian BaldwinIan Baldwin, D Jones
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the frequency, characteristics and timing of objectively measured clinical instability in adult ward patients in the 24 hours preceding activation of the medical emergency team (MET). We also examined ward clinician responses to documented clinical instability. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A descriptive, exploratory design with a retrospective medical record audit. We descriptively analysed data from 200 ward patients reviewed by the MET at a tertiary teaching hospital in Melbourne, Australia, during 2014. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Frequency and characteristics of urgent clinical review (UCR) criteria breaches in the 24 hours preceding MET activation, and in-hospital mortality. RESULTS: Overall, 78.5% of patients breached UCR criteria at least once in the 24 hours preceding MET activation, with 80.9% having multiple breaches. The most common causes of UCR criteria breaches were hypoxaemia without supplemental oxygen (27.4%, n = 43) and hypoxaemia with supplemental oxygen (21.7%, n = 34) for first UCR criteria breaches, and tachycardia (33.1%, n = 42) for last UCR criteria breaches during the 24 hours we examined. The median time before MET activation for first and last breaches was 17.1 hours and 1.2 hours, respectively. Examination of the clinician documentation suggested a high incidence of pre-MET activation afferent limb failure. In-hospital mortality was 12%. CONCLUSIONS: Patients commonly and repeatedly breached objectively measured UCR criteria in the 24 hours preceding MET activation, providing numerous opportunities for clinicians to recognise and respond to early clinical deterioration. The high incidence of pre- MET afferent limb failure requires further exploration.



Critical care and resuscitation






Strawberry Hills, N.S.W.

Open access

  • Yes





Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

[2017, Australasian Medical Publishing Company]




Australasian Medical Publishing Company