Injury mortality following the loss of air medical support for rural interhospital transport

Acad Emerg Med. 2002 Jul;9(7):694-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2002.tb02147.x.


Objectives: This study evaluated variation in mortality among interfacility transfers three years before and after discontinuation of a rotor-wing transport service.

Methods: A retrospective cohort assessment was conducted among severely injured patients transferred from four rural hospitals to a single tertiary center in regions with continued versus discontinued rotor-wing service. Thirty-day mortality following discharge from the receiving tertiary facility served as the primary outcome measure.

Results: Discontinuation of rotor-wing transport decreased interfacility transfers and increased transfer time. Transferred patients were four times more likely to die after (compared with before) rotor-wing service was discontinued (p = 0.05). No difference was noted in the region with continued rotor-wing service [odds ratio (OR) = 0.53, p = 0.47].

Conclusions: Injury mortality increased with loss of air transport for interfacility transfer in a rural area.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Ambulances / supply & distribution*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Facility Closure
  • Hospitals, Rural / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Rural / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Transfer / methods
  • Patient Transfer / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation of Patients / methods
  • Transportation of Patients / standards*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*