Are severely injured trauma victims in Norway offered advanced pre-hospital care? National, retrospective, observational cohort
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Studies of severely injured patients suggest that advanced pre‐hospital care and/or rapid transportation provides a survival benefit. This benefit depends on the disposition of resources to patients with the greatest need. Norway has 19 Emergency Helicopters (HEMS) staffed by anaesthesiologists on duty 24/7/365. National regulations describe indications for their use, and the use of the national emergency medical dispatch guideline is recommended. We assessed whether severely injured patients had been treated or transported by advanced resources on a national scale. Methods: A national survey was conducted collecting data for 2013 from local trauma registries at all hospitals caring for severely injured patients. Patients were analysed according to hospital level; trauma centres or acute care hospitals with trauma functions. Patients with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) > 15 were considered severely injured. Results: Three trauma centres (75%) and 17 acute care hospitals (53%) had data for trauma patients from 2013, a total of 3535 trauma registry entries (primary admissions only), including 604 victims with an ISS > 15. Of these 604 victims, advanced resources were treating and/or transporting 51%. Sixty percent of the severely injured admitted directly to trauma centres received advanced services, while only 37% of the severely injured admitted primarily to acute care hospitals received these services. Conclusion: A highly developed and widely distributed HEMS system reached only half of severely injured trauma victims in Norway in 2013.