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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


ARAOS-BAERISWYL, Esteban et al. Deterioration of vital signs as predictors of major medical emergencies in hospitalized patients. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2018, vol.146, n.9, pp.1024-1027. ISSN 0034-9887.


Medical emergencies (ME) in hospitalized patients (cardiac and respiratory arrest, suffocation, asphyxia, seizures, unconsciousness) are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Most of these patients have signs of physiological deterioration prior to the appearance of the emergency. Early detection of warning signs by rapid response teams (RRT) may provide an opportunity for the prevention of major adverse events.


To identify clinical signs predicting death, need for mechanical ventilation, or transfer to a more complex unit during the 72 hours prior to the activation of the ME code. To evaluate the association of each trigger with specific major adverse events.

Patients and Methods:

Medical records of 184 hospitalized adult patients in whom the ME code was activated between 2009 and 2014 were reviewed.


Seventy five percent patients who experienced a ME had predictive signs of poor clinical outcome. Polypnea and airway involvement were associated to mechanical ventilation. Hypotension and hypoxemia were associated with mortality.


In the absence of RRT, special attention should be given to patients with polypnea, airway involvement, hypotension and desaturation, since these are associated with poor clinical outcomes.

Keywords : Adult; Heart Arrest; Hospital Rapid Response Team; Resuscitation.

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