Introduction: Little is known about the use of air medical transport for patients with medical, rather than traumatic, emergencies. This study describes the practices of air transport programs, with respect to nontrauma scene responses, in several areas throughout the United States and Canada.
Methods: A descriptive, retrospective study was conducted of all nontrauma scene flights from 2008 and 2009. Flight information and patient demographic data were collected from 5 air transport programs. Descriptive statistics were used to examine indications for transport, Glasgow Coma Scale Scores, and loaded miles traveled.
Results: A total of 1,785 nontrauma scene flights were evaluated. The percentage of scene flights contributed by nontraumatic emergencies varied between programs, ranging from 0% to 44.3%. The most common indication for transport was cardiac, nonST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (22.9%). Cardiac arrest was the indication for transport in 2.5% of flights. One air transport program reported a high percentage (49.4) of neurologic, stroke, flights.
Conclusion: The use of air transport for nontraumatic emergencies varied considerably between various air transport programs and regions. More research is needed to evaluate which nontraumatic emergencies benefit from air transport. National guidelines regarding the use of air transport for nontraumatic emergencies are needed.
Copyright © 2014 Air Medical Journal Associates. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.