Do Trauma Patients Aged 55 and Older Benefit from Air Medical Transport?

Prehosp Emerg Care. 2017 Jul-Aug;21(4):461-465. doi: 10.1080/10903127.2016.1269223. Epub 2017 May 3.


Introduction: A recent analysis of the National Sample Project demonstrated that the mortality benefits of air medical transport do not extend to patients age 55 or older. The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate mortality benefits of air transport in adult trauma patients ≥ 55 years of age.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all adult patients greater than age 55 years directly transported from a trauma scene to a Level I or II facility was conducted. The primary outcome variable was in-hospital mortality. Using the imputed dataset we then performed multivariable logistic regression with mortality as the dependent variable to determine if mode of transport had a significant impact on mortality for patients older than 55 years of age.

Results: There were 7,739 (90.9%) patients transported by ground and 682 (9.1%) transported by air in our dataset. There were 3,556 between the ages of 55 to 69 years and an additional 4865 over the age of 69 years. In the multivariable model of all patients ≥ 55, air transport was associated with lower mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.39--0.91; p = 0.017) when compared to those transported by ground.

Conclusion: Our study was able to demonstrate a survival benefit for the cohort of patients age greater than 55 years of age. Key words: air medical transport; trauma; geriatric.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Ambulances / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy