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Accuracy between prehospital and hospital diagnosis in helicopter emergency medical services and its consequences for trauma care


Müller, Martin; Hautz, Wolf; Louma, Yves; Knapp, Jürgen; Schnüriger, Beat; Simmen, Hans-Peter; Pietsch, Urs; Jakob, Dominik A (2024). Accuracy between prehospital and hospital diagnosis in helicopter emergency medical services and its consequences for trauma care. European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

PURPOSE

For optimal prehospital trauma care, it is essential to adequately recognize potential life-threatening injuries in order to correctly triage patients and to initiate life-saving measures. The aim of the present study was to determine the accuracy of prehospital diagnoses suspected by helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).

METHODS

This retrospective multicenter study included patients from the Swiss Trauma Registry with ISS ≥ 16 or AIS head ≥ 3 transported by Switzerland's largest HEMS and subsequently admitted to one of twelve Swiss trauma centers from 01/2020 to 12/2020. The primary outcome was the comparison of injuries suspected prehospital with the final diagnoses obtained at the hospital using the abbreviated injury scale (AIS) per body region. As secondary outcomes, prehospital interventions were compared to corresponding relevant diagnoses.

RESULTS

Relevant head trauma was the most commonly injured body region and was identified in 96.3% (95% CI: 92.1%; 98.6%) of the cases prehospital. Relevant injuries to the chest, abdomen, and pelvis were also common but less often identified prehospital [62.7% (95% CI: 54.2%; 70.6%), 45.5% (95% CI: 30.4%; 61.2%), and 61.5% (95% CI: 44.6%; 76.6%)]. Overall, 7 of 95 (7.4%) patients with pneumothorax received a chest decompression and in 22 of 39 (56.4%) patients with an instable pelvic fracture a pelvic binder was applied prehospital.

CONCLUSION

Approximately half of severe chest, abdominal, and pelvic diagnoses made in hospital went undetected in the challenging prehospital environment. This underlines the difficult circumstances faced by the rescue teams. Potentially life-saving interventions such as prehospital chest decompression and increased use of a pelvic binder were identified as potential improvements to prehospital care.

Abstract

PURPOSE

For optimal prehospital trauma care, it is essential to adequately recognize potential life-threatening injuries in order to correctly triage patients and to initiate life-saving measures. The aim of the present study was to determine the accuracy of prehospital diagnoses suspected by helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).

METHODS

This retrospective multicenter study included patients from the Swiss Trauma Registry with ISS ≥ 16 or AIS head ≥ 3 transported by Switzerland's largest HEMS and subsequently admitted to one of twelve Swiss trauma centers from 01/2020 to 12/2020. The primary outcome was the comparison of injuries suspected prehospital with the final diagnoses obtained at the hospital using the abbreviated injury scale (AIS) per body region. As secondary outcomes, prehospital interventions were compared to corresponding relevant diagnoses.

RESULTS

Relevant head trauma was the most commonly injured body region and was identified in 96.3% (95% CI: 92.1%; 98.6%) of the cases prehospital. Relevant injuries to the chest, abdomen, and pelvis were also common but less often identified prehospital [62.7% (95% CI: 54.2%; 70.6%), 45.5% (95% CI: 30.4%; 61.2%), and 61.5% (95% CI: 44.6%; 76.6%)]. Overall, 7 of 95 (7.4%) patients with pneumothorax received a chest decompression and in 22 of 39 (56.4%) patients with an instable pelvic fracture a pelvic binder was applied prehospital.

CONCLUSION

Approximately half of severe chest, abdominal, and pelvic diagnoses made in hospital went undetected in the challenging prehospital environment. This underlines the difficult circumstances faced by the rescue teams. Potentially life-saving interventions such as prehospital chest decompression and increased use of a pelvic binder were identified as potential improvements to prehospital care.

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Additional indexing

Contributors:Swiss Trauma Board
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Department of Trauma Surgery
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Surgery
Health Sciences > Emergency Medicine
Health Sciences > Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Health Sciences > Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
Language:English
Date:2 April 2024
Deposited On:12 Apr 2024 13:10
Last Modified:16 Apr 2024 07:04
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1863-9933
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00068-024-02505-y
PubMed ID:38563962
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)