Article Text

PDF
Is air transport of stroke patients faster than ground transport? A prospective controlled observational study
  1. Rasmus Hesselfeldt1,
  2. Jesper Gyllenborg2,
  3. Jacob Steinmetz3,
  4. Hien Quoc Do1,
  5. Julie Hejselbæk1,
  6. Lars S Rasmussen1
  1. 1Department of Anaesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Neurology, Roskilde University Hospital, Denmark
  3. 3Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, Ringsted, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rasmus Hesselfeldt, Department of Anaesthesia, Copenhagen University Hospital, Section 4231, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark; hesselfeldt{at}hotmail.com

Abstract

Background Helicopters are widely used for interhospital transfers of stroke patients, but the benefit is sparsely documented. We hypothesised that helicopter transport would reduce system delay to thrombolytic treatment at the regional stroke centre.

Methods In this prospective controlled observational study, we included patients referred to a stroke centre if their ground transport time exceeded 30 min, or they were transported by a secondarily dispatched, physician-staffed helicopter. The primary endpoint was time from telephone contact to triaging neurologist to arrival in the stroke centre. Secondary endpoints included modified Rankin Scale at 3 months, 30-day and 1-year mortality.

Results A total of 330 patients were included; 265 with ground transport and 65 with helicopter, of which 87 (33%) and 22 (34%), received thrombolysis, respectively (p=0.88). Time from contact to triaging neurologist to arrival in the regional stroke centre was significantly shorter in the ground group (55 (34–85) vs 68 (40–85) min, p<0.01). The distance from scene to stroke centre was shorter in the ground group (67 (42–136) km) than in the helicopter group (83 (46–143) km) (p<0.01). We did not detect significant differences in modified Rankin Scale at 3 months, in 30-day (9.4% vs 0%; p=0.20) nor 1-year (18.8% vs 13.6%; p=0.76) mortality between ground and helicopter transport.

Conclusions We found significantly shorter time from contact to triaging neurologist to arrival in the regional stroke centre if stroke patients were transported by primarily dispatched ground ambulance compared with a secondarily dispatched helicopter.

  • Critical Care Transport
  • Helicopter Retrieval
  • Neurology, Stroke
  • Stroke
  • Prehospital Care, Helicopter Retrieval

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.