Merits and capabilities of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) in traumatized patients

Technol Health Care. 2012;20(5):435-44. doi: 10.3233/THC-2012-0691.


Since the introduction of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) into the civilian rescue system, there is an ongoing discussion on its potential benefits in terms of time- and cost-effectiveness as well as clinical outcome improvement. Currently, the use of HEMS seems to provide a survival benefit in traumatized patients due to several aspects compared to ground emergency medical service (GEMS). First of all, HEMS facilitate rapid transport from the scene to hospital based on increased transportation velocity. Furthermore, HEMS medical crew members are experienced in trauma management resulting in improved on-scene management and patients' triaging. However, these aspects should be considered carefully as specific circumstances referring to rescue teams, on-scene management as well as preclinical durations, triaging of trauma patients and subsequent treatment at different hospitals have to be attended. In the present review current aspects of HEMS compared to GEMS are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Ambulances / economics
  • Air Ambulances / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ambulances / economics
  • Ambulances / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Emergency Medical Services / economics
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma* / economics
  • Multiple Trauma* / mortality
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors