Loss of life years due to unavailable helicopter emergency medical service: a single base study from a rural area of Norway
AuthorZakariassen, Erik; Østerås, Øyvind; Nystøyl, Dag Ståle; Breidablik, Hans Johan; Solheim, Eivind; Brattebø, Guttorm; Ellensen, Vegard Skalstad; Hoff, Jana Midelfart; Hordnes, Knut; Aksnes, Arne; Heltne, Jon-Kenneth; Hunskaar, Steinar; Hotvedt, Ragnar
Method: We included all HEMS requests in the period 2010–2013 from Sogn and Fjordane County that were medically indicated but subsequently cancelled. This provided a selection of patients, with the purpose of studying cancellations independently of the patient’s medical status A multidisciplinary expert panel retrospectively assessed each patient’s potential loss of life years due to the lack of helicopter transport and intervention by a HEMS physician.
Results: The study included 184 patients from 176 missions. Because of unavailable HEMS, seven patients (4%) were anticipated to have lost a total of 18 life years. Three patients suffered from myocardial infarction, three from stroke and one from abdominal haemorrhage. The main contribution from HEMS care in these seven cases might have been rapid transport to definitive care. The probability of a patient losing life years when in need of HEMS evacuation was found to be 0.2%.
Conclusion: During the four years period seven patients lost 18 life years. Lack of rapid transport seems to be the primary cause of lost life years in this specific geographical area.
- Knowledge about to what extent HEMS contributes to an increased survival and a better outcome for patients is limited.
- Compared to similar studies on life years gained the estimated loss of life years was minor when HEMS evacuation was unavailable in this rural area.
- The findings indicates that lack of rapid HEMS transport was the primary cause of the estimated loss of life years.