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Nurs Crit Care. 2008 Mar-Apr;13(2):80-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-5153.2007.00258.x.

Medical emergency team: a review of the literature.

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Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.



A medical emergency team (MET) comprises of a team of doctors and nurses with advanced life support skills, which are hospital based, who respond to emergency calls following a deterioration in a patient's clinical condition. The role and contribution of such approaches promoting the early recognition and intervention of these vulnerable patients demands critical appraisal.


To investigate the contribution of medical emergency teams and whether there are clinical antecedents evident prior to the triggering the MET system. The paper will also discuss factors influencing effective utilization and implementation strategies to encourage a culture change required to adopt the MET system.


A critical review the relevant literature of studies focussed on the MET system.


The majority of published work relating to MET systems was conducted in single-centres. The introduction of MET systems appears to be linked to a reported reduction in adverse outcomes and early recognition and intervention in clinically deteriorating patients. Additionally, a consistent observation in the studies reviewed was the reported presence of clinically abnormal physiological observations prior to the clinical events such as the cardiac arrest. The evidence in support of MET or equivalent systems, is not straightforward. Issues such as education, resources (human and financial) and communication are vital to success with implementation. Responding promptly to patients who unexpectedly become acutely ill demands skill and competence; however, more research evaluating the role of early 'response' systems is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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