Tag Archives: pre-hospital


Self-extrication with a collar on

Using a sophisticated infrared six camera motion capture system, investigators demonstrated decreased cervical spine movement when collared volunteers self-extricated from a mock smashed up Toyota Corolla, when compared with extrication by paramedics using a backboard.

The authors conclude that in ambulatory subjects who do not complain of back pain, the least motion of the cervical spine may occur when the subject is allowed to exit the car in a c-collar without backboard immobilisation.

Cervical spine motion during extrication: a pilot study
West J Emerg Med. 2009 May;10(2):74-8

Full text article

Standard medication kit for prehospital and retrieval physicians

A very comprehensive (hence the title of the paper) review of medications required for pre-hospital & retrieval medicine missions was undertaken, resulting in recommendations. While the casemix seen by various services may be influenced by local geography or tasking restrictions, the list provides an excellent standard from which locally appropriate modifications can be made.

Defining a standard medication kit for prehospital and retrieval physicians: a comprehensive review.
Emerg Med J. 2010 Jan;27(1):62-71

Ballistic penetrating neck injury and the risk of immobilisation

British military physicians reported the outcomes of patients sustaining penetrating neck injury from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Three quarters were injured in explosions, one quarter from gunshots.

Of 90 patients, only 1 of the 56 survivors to reach a surgical facility sustained an unstable cervical spine injury that required surgical stabilisation. This patient later died as result of a co-existing head injury. The authors conclude that penetrating ballistic trauma to the neck is associated with a high mortality rate, and their data suggest that it is very unlikely that penetrating ballistic trauma to the neck will result in an unstable cervical spine in survivors. In a hazardous environment the risk/benefit ratio of mandatory spinal immobilisation is unfavourable and may place medical teams at prolonged risk, and cervical collars may hide potential life-threatening conditions.

Learning the lessons from conflict: Pre-hospital cervical spine stabilisation following ballistic neck trauma
Injury. 2009 Dec;40(12):1342-5

Prehospital Hypocapnia and Poor Outcome After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Patients admitted to a level 1 trauma centre with traumatic brain injury whose end-tidal CO2 was kept with the Brain Trauma Foundation recommended limits of 30-35 mmHg (3.9-4.6 kPa) had a lower mortality than those whose CO2 was outside this range. The group in which the target was not achieved had a greater injury severity, which may have contribute to the difficulty in optimising ETCO2.

Prehospital Hypocapnia and Poor Outcome After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
J Trauma. 2009 Jun;66(6):1577-82

Failed prehospital intubation attempts and pneumonitis

A review of 1954 out-of-hospital tracheal intubation (ETI) attempts by EMS crews revealed 444 (22.7%) patients experienced one or more ETI errors, including tube misplacement or dislodgement in 61 (3%), multiple ETI attempts in 62 (3%) and failed ETI in 359 (15%). Pneumonitis was associated with failed ETI (n=20, 19%; univariable OR 2.54; 95% CI 1.24-5.25). The authors conclude that out-of-hospital ETI errors are not associated with mortality, but failed out-of-hospital ETI increases the odds of pneumonitis.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18952357

Nurse-delivered prehospital CPAP

A nurse-based pre-hospital care system in Holland describes its experience with pre-hospital CPAP for acute cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. It appears that the simple Boussignac apparatus is straightforward to apply in the ambulance environment. Arguments about lack of outcome studies aside, if it’s necessary to undertake an interhospital transfer of a patient established on CPAP then this might be a relatively straightforward means of doing so.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19164632?dopt=Abstract


Prehospital intubation of children

A prospective observational study of paediatric patients requiring pre-hospital intubation attended by a helicopter medical team (HMT) included 95 children with a GCS of 3-4. Fifty-four received bag-mask support by EMS paramedics until the HMT arrived and intubated them (survival 63%), and 41 were intubated by EMS paramedics. Of these, ‘correction of tube/ventilation’ was required in 37% and the survival was 5%. The authors conclude that bag-mask support should be the technique of choice by EMS paramedics, as the rate of complications of tracheal intubation in this patient group is unacceptably high. Hard to comment as I only have access to the abstract but one wonders if the EMS-intubation group were sicker patients requiring more aggressive early control of airway and breathing.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18684547