Heart rate and leukocytes after air and ground transportation in artificially ventilated neonates: a prospective observational study

Intensive Care Med. 2009 Jan;35(1):161-5. doi: 10.1007/s00134-008-1256-8. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of interhospital air and ground transportation of artificially ventilated neonates on heart rate and peripheral blood leukocyte counts.

Design: Prospective, observational study.

Setting: Level III multidisciplinary Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Patients: Fifty-eight near-term artificially ventilated transported neonates between May 2006 and April 2007.

Interventions: Day-helicopter, day- and night-ground transportation.

Measurements and results: Heart rate at retrieval, on admission to the ICU and 1 h later, and peripheral blood leukocyte counts on admission and 1 d later were compared. Fifteen neonates were transported by helicopter during the daytime (D-HEL), 20 by daytime ground and 23 by nighttime ground transportation (D-GROUND, N-GROUND). No differences in delivery mode, birth weight, gestational age, gender, primary diagnoses for transportation, response time and duration of transportation were found between the groups. Similarly, no differences in pH, pCO(2), blood pressure and skin temperature at retrieval and on admission to the ICU were found between the three groups. The mean heart rate at retrieval did not differ significantly, while on arrival in the ICU and 1 h later the D-GROUND group of patients showed a significantly higher mean heart rate compared to the D-HEL and N-GROUND groups. Moreover, leukocyte counts on arrival in the ICU showed significantly higher leukocyte counts in the D-GROUND group of patients compared to the D-HEL group of patients.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that there is an association between daytime ground transportation and higher heart rate and peripheral blood leukocytes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances
  • Ambulances
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal
  • Leukocyte Count*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial*
  • Transportation of Patients / methods*