J Korean Neurosurg Soc.  2014 Jul;56(1):42-47. 10.3340/jkns.2014.56.1.42.

The Effectiveness Evaluation of Helicopter Ambulance Transport among Neurotrauma Patients in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Ajou University College of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. ns9@naver.com
  • 2Department of Neurosurgery, Teun Teun Research Institute, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
Helicopter ambulance transport (HAT) is a highly resource-intensive facility that is a well-established part of the trauma transport system in many developed countries. Here, we review the benefit of HAT for neurosurgical patients in Korea.
METHODS
This retrospective study followed neurotrauma patients who were transferred by HAT to a single emergency trauma center over a period of 2 years. The clinical benefits of HAT were measured according to the necessity of emergency surgical intervention and the differences in the time taken to transport patients by ground ambulance transport (GAT) and HAT.
RESULTS
Ninety-nine patients were transferred to a single university hospital using HAT, of whom 32 were taken to the neurosurgery department. Of these 32 patients, 10 (31.3%) needed neurosurgical intervention, 14 (43.8%) needed non-neurosurgical intervention, 3 (9.4%) required both, and 11 (34.4%) did not require any intervention. The transfer time was faster using HAT than the estimated time needed for GAT, although for a relatively close distance (<50 km) without ground obstacles (mountain or sea) HAT did not improve transfer time. The cost comparison showed that HAT was more expensive than GAT (3,292,000 vs. 84,000 KRW, p<0.001).
CONCLUSION
In this Korean-based study, we found that HAT has a clinical benefit for neurotrauma cases involving a transfer from a distant site or an isolated area. A more precise triage for using HAT should be considered to prevent overuse of this expensive transport method.

Keyword

Helicopter ambulance transport; Aeromedical evacuation; Neurotrauma; Clinical benefit; Korea

MeSH Terms

Air Ambulances*
Ambulances
Developed Countries
Emergencies
Humans
Korea
Neurosurgery
Retrospective Studies
Trauma Centers
Triage
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