Transport of critically ill adults

Crit Care Med. 1986 Jun;14(6):543-7. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198606000-00005.


Interhospital transport can be hazardous because of rapid changes in a patient's physiologic status and the use of monitoring systems. A retrospective study evaluated the first 204 critically ill adult patients transported from community hospitals to Stanford Medical Center by a special transport team. To relate the risk of transport to severity of illness, a retrospective scoring system was devised. Sixty-one percent (n = 125) of the patients were at high risk for transport. The patients were stabilized at the referring hospital, and invasive monitoring was used as mandated by the patient's condition. The average transport distance was 133 km, and the average duration of transport was 4.38 h. One hundred and five patients (51.5%) were transported by air, and the remaining patients were transported by surface ambulance. All patients survived the transport, and 71.6% were eventually discharged from the hospital. Hospital mortality correlated with the risk-scoring system (p less than .01) and increased five-fold as severity of illness increased. This study demonstrates that, with appropriate hemodynamic stabilization and monitoring, severely ill patients can be transported safely.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulances
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic* / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Transportation of Patients / methods*