In a presentation made at the just finished ASA annual conference in San Diego, Faith Factora, MD of the Cleveland Clinic showed data that pointed to anesthesiologist-led rapid response teams produced better outcomes than ones that were led by nurses.
She examined data from 2010-2012 when nurses led rapid response teams vs 2012-2018 when anesthesiologists were in charge. There were 1437 cardiac arrests and 7727 deaths involved during that time. Cardiac arrests and deaths were found to be lower when anesthesiologists were involved in the care of the patients.
Of course having an anesthesiologist available to go to all the rapid responses in the hospital can become very expensive and it ties up a scarce anesthesiologist from working in the operating room. However it may be worthwhile in cases where the patient is having complex problems like a cardiac arrest vs. somebody who is having a vasovagal syncopal episode.
The irony is that most anesthesiologists would probably rather not be leading rapid response teams in the hospital. We very much prefer to be left alone in the OR's and devote our full attention to the one patient on the table, not running all over the hospital putting out fires. If we could pawn that job off to nurses and have hospitalists lead the RRT's then most of us will be okay with that arrangement.
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