Emergency Medical Service (EMS) systems in developed and developing countries

Injury. 2007 Sep;38(9):1001-13. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2007.04.008. Epub 2007 Jun 20.


Objectives: To compare patient- and injury-related characteristics of trauma victims and pre-hospital trauma care systems among different developed and developing countries.

Method: We collated de-identified patient-level data from national or local trauma registries in Australia, Austria, Canada, Greece, Germany, Iran, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Patient and injury-related characteristics of trauma victims with injury severity score (ISS) >15 and the pre-hospital trauma care provided to these patients were compared among different countries.

Results: A total of 30,339 subjects from one or several regions in 11 countries were included in this analysis. Austria (51%), Germany (41%) and Australia (30%) reported the highest proportion of air ambulance use. Monterrey, Mexico (median 10.1min) and Montreal, Canada (median 16.1min) reported the shortest and Germany (median: 30min) and Austria (median: 26min) reported the longest scene time. Use of intravenous fluid therapy among advanced EMS systems without physicians as pre-hospital care providers, varied from 30% (in the Netherlands) to 55% (in the US). The corresponding percentages in advanced EMS systems with physicians actively involved in pre-hospital trauma care, excluding Montreal in Canada, ranged from 63% (in London, in the UK) to 75% in Germany and Austria. Austria and Germany also reported the highest percentage of pre-hospital intubation (61% and 56%, respectively).

Conclusion: This study provides an early look at international variability in patient mix, process of care, and performance of different pre-hospital trauma care systems worldwide. International efforts should be devoted to developing a minimum standard data set for trauma patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Support Care / methods*
  • Life Support Care / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Transportation of Patients / methods
  • Trauma Centers / standards
  • Trauma Severity Indices