Helicopter air medical transport: ten-year outcomes for trauma patients in a New England program

Conn Med. 1999 Nov;63(11):677-82.


Background: Twenty-five years have passed since the introduction of the first civilian hospital-based air medical helicopter service. This study reviews the impact of a single air medical service during a decade of service on the survival of severely injured trauma patients.

Methods: A retrospective database analysis was performed to determine program demographics and obtain outcome data. The outcomes of trauma patients were compared to mortality derived from a national database utilizing physiologic indices of severity.

Results: Outcome analysis demonstrated an overall 13% reduction in mortality for air transported patients when compared to controls. Stratification based upon Trauma Score demonstrated a 35% reduction in mortality for victims transported directly from the scene with scene scores between four and 13, and essentially no difference in outcome for patients at Trauma Score extremes.

Conclusions: Rapid utilization of helicopter air medical transport can have a dramatic impact upon patient outcome, especially within a select group of scene transported trauma patients with Trauma Scores ranging from four to 13.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Ambulances*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New England / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality