The Advanced Trauma Life Support Program in Manitoba: a 5-year review

Can J Surg. 1993 Apr;36(2):181-3.


Twenty Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses were conducted at the University of Manitoba between 1982 and 1987. There were 302 registrants, 95 of whom were from rural communities. Twelve registrants failed the course. The impact of the program was assessed by questionnaire (68.8% response overall). The response from department heads of surgery in urban hospitals was 87.5% and from surgeons in rural areas 50%. Fifty-eight percent of rural surgeons, 62.5% of urban surgeons and 75% of urban emergency-department directors claimed they could identify those who had attended an ATLS course by the increased confidence demonstrated and the use of more timely and appropriate consultation and treatment. Thirty percent of rural surgeons, 37% of urban surgeons and 42% of emergency-department directors claimed that mortality and morbidity were decreased when care was provided by ATLS-trained physicians. The remainder were undecided because of lack of information. Ninety-three percent of respondents indicated that the course increased their confidence, trauma capability and ability to communicate with consultant trauma surgeons. Fifty-two percent thought the course should be mandatory for all physicians, and 100% thought it should be mandatory for all emergency-department physicians. The data suggest that although most physicians treat fewer trauma patients 5 years after their ATLS training, the course is still highly recommended, and it has improved trauma care. Although the ATLS program was intended primarily for rural physicians, more urban-based physicians registered for it.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Hospitals, Rural
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Life Support Care*
  • Manitoba
  • Program Evaluation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors