Static rope evacuation by helicopter emergency medical services in rescue operations in Southeast Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSamdal, M., Hauagland, H., Fjeldet, C. et al. (2018) Static rope evacuation by helicopter emergency medical services in rescue operations in Southeast Norway. Wilderness & environmental medicine, 29(3), 1-10. 10.1016/j.wem.2018.03.010
Introduction Physician-staffed helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) in Norway are an adjunct to existing search and rescue services. Our aims were to study the epidemiological, operational, and medical aspects of HEMS daylight static rope operations performed in the southeastern part of the country and to examine several quality dimensions that are characteristic of this service. Methods We reviewed the static rope operations performed at 3 HEMS bases during a 3-y period and applied a set of quality indicators designed for physician-staffed emergency medical services to evaluate the quality of care. Data are presented as medians with quartiles, except National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) scores, which are presented as mean (SD). Results Fifty-nine static rope operations were identified, involving 60 patients. Median (quartiles) age was 43 (27–55) y. Median (quartiles) take-off time was 9 (5–13) min. Trauma-related injuries were found in 48 patients. The main conditions were lower limb injuries, found in 32 patients. Ten patients experienced medical conditions. Mean (SD) NACA score was 3.3 (1.3). A potential or actual life-threatening diagnosis (NACA score: 4–6) was reported among 15 patients. The main interventions were intravenous lines (19 patients), analgesics (17), and oxygen treatment (14). Four patients were intubated, and 1 thoracostomy was performed. Conclusions Static rope operations are rarely performed. The quality indicators suggest that the service is safe, available, and equitable. Its main benefit seems to be evacuation and the maintenance of readiness before rapid transport of the physician to the scene or the patient to the hospital.