Reverse transport of children from a tertiary pediatric hospital

Air Med J. 2007 Jul-Aug;26(4):183-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2006.10.009.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine the epidemiology and resources used and to study the potential savings of pediatric reverse transport patients.

Methods: A case control study was performed with patients undergoing a reverse or outbound transport from a large, pediatric hospital. Twenty-five children undergoing reverse transport were compared with matched controls. Lengths of stay and costs were compared between the reverse transport and matched control patients.

Results: Fifty-two percent of the reverse transport patients returned home, whereas 32% went home for end-of-life care and 16% went to other facilities. The average reverse transport was more than 400 miles and cost $6,064. The reverse transport of these patients did not save pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) days but did result in a shorter hospital stay compared with the matched controls (10 vs. 19 days, P = .03). Decreased utilization of bed days came from less use of intermediate care unit resources.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients undergo reverse transports for a variety of reasons, often for end-of-life care. The ability to reverse transport pediatric patients may not save PICU bed days but may offer pediatric tertiary care hospitals a means to provide more intermediate care bed availability.

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances / organization & administration*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Transportation of Patients / economics
  • Transportation of Patients / methods*