The golden hour: scientific fact or medical "urban legend"?

Acad Emerg Med. 2001 Jul;8(7):758-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2001.tb00201.x.


The term "golden hour" is commonly used to characterize the urgent need for the care of trauma patients. This term implies that morbidity and mortality are affected if care is not instituted within the first hour after injury. This concept justifies much of our current trauma system. However, definitive references are generally not provided when this concept is discussed. It remains unclear whether objective data exist. This article discusses a detailed literature and historical record search for support of the "golden hour" concept. None is identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Emergency Treatment / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma / diagnosis
  • Multiple Trauma / therapy*
  • Philosophy, Medical*
  • Time Factors
  • Traumatology / methods*