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Impact of the introduction of an integrated adult retrieval service on major trauma outcomes
  1. Marcus P Kennedy1,
  2. Belinda J Gabbe2,
  3. Ben A McKenzie1
  1. 1Adult Retrieval Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, Essendon Fields, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marcus P Kennedy, Adult Retrieval Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, Unit 4/12 Larkin Court, Essendon Fields, VIC 3041, Australia; Marcus.Kennedy{at}


Objectives The primary aim of this study was to examine the impact of the introduction of an integrated adult critical care patient retrieval system in Victoria, Australia, on early clinical outcomes for major trauma patients who undergo interhospital transfer. The secondary aims were to examine the impact on quality and process measures for interhospital transfers in this population, and on longer-term patient-reported outcomes.

Methods This is a cohort study using data contained in the Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTR) for major trauma patients >18 years of age between 2009 and 2013 who had undergone interhospital transfer. For eligible patients, data items were extracted from the VSTR for analysis: demographics, injury details, hospital details, transfer details, Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV) coordination indicator and transfer indicator, key clinical observations and outcomes.

Results There were 3009 major trauma interhospital transfers in the state with a transfer time less than 24 h. ARV was contacted for 1174 (39.0%) transfers. ARV-coordinated metropolitan transfers demonstrated lower adjusted odds of inhospital mortality compared with metropolitan transfers occurring without ARV coordination (OR 0.39, 0.15 to 0.97). Adjusting for destination hospital type demonstrates that this impact was principally due to ARV facilitation of a Major Trauma Service as the destination for transferred patients (OR 0.41, 0.16 to 1.02). The median time spent at the referral hospital was lower for ARV-coordinated transfers (5.4 h (3.8 to 7.5) vs 6.1 (4.2 to 9.2), p<0.0001).

Conclusions In a mature trauma system, an effective retrieval service can further reduce mortality and improve long-term outcomes.

  • Trauma
  • critical care transport
  • helicopter retrieval
  • major trauma management
  • Trauma, majot trauma management

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