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January 11, 2010

A Weak Link in the Rapid Response System

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(1):12-13. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.466

In-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) is often the end result of progressive clinical deterioration caused by reversible underlying causes such as sepsis and respiratory failure, which have better survival the earlier they are treated.1 It therefore follows that a rapid response system (RRS) designed to identify early signs of clinical deterioration and activate a specialized team of clinicians should decrease hospital mortality. This idea is so intuitive that it might be reasonable to disregard some evidence to the contrary,2 as the Joint Commission3 did with its 2008 National Patient Safety Goals, mandating such a system in US hospitals.

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