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Revista Colombiana de Obstetricia y Ginecología

Print version ISSN 0034-7434On-line version ISSN 2463-0225


RINCON-LOPEZ, Juliana Vanessa; LARROTTA-CASTILLO, Diego; ESTRADA-OROZCO, Kelly  and  GAITAN-DUARTE, Hernando. Structure and roles of rapid response teams for adult care in high complexity hospitals: Scoping review. Rev Colomb Obstet Ginecol [online]. 2021, vol.72, n.2, pp.171-190.  Epub June 30, 2021. ISSN 0034-7434.

Introduction and Objective:

A significant proportion of hospitalized patients experience severe clinical deterioration that may result in adverse events, unexpected cardiac arrest, or death. Rapid response teams (RRTs) have been created to reduce the frequency and prevent the consequences of these events. The objective of this scoping review is to describe the structure, role and results of the implementation of RRTs in the hospital context, with a focus on gynecological surgery and obstetric care.

Materials and methods:

A search was conducted in the Medline via Pubmed, Embase via OVID, LILACS, Cochrane Library and Open Gray medical databases. The search included descriptive and analytical observational studies, experimental studies and qualitative studies that included RRTs in high complexity healthcare institutions or teaching hospitals. Two researchers selected the studies and extracted data pertaining to the structure, roles and team activation criteria, response times or tools to assess their performance. No date or publication status restrictions were applied. Studies in English, Spanish and Portuguese were included. A narrative synthesis of the findings is made.


Overall, 15,833 titles were retrieved, of which 15 studies met the inclusion criteria. Only one study mentions the use of RRTs in obstetric services. RRTs have a multidisciplinary structure and they must be available at least 12 hours a day. The roles of RRTs include identification of patients who are deteriorating, especially outside the intensive care setting, and of patients with underlying conditions or triggering events that increase the risk of cardiac arrest. In addition, they implement rapid multifaceted interventions that include pharmacological treatments, cardiopulmonary procedures, and they develop communication and training activities. Tools for team activation and care process assessment are available.


The structure and roles of RRTs are clearly described, making it possible to assemble them in high complexity hospitals. Further research is required to explore risks and benefits of using RRTs to mitigate harm in patients with adverse events and to compare effectiveness and safety between code activation and RRT strategies in obstetrics services.

Keywords : Hospital Rapid Response Team; Risk Management; Patient Safety; Early Warning Score; Clinical Deterioration.

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