Volume 21 Supplement 1

London Trauma Conference 2012

Open Access

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

  • RM Lyon1 and
  • MJ Nelson1
Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine201321(Suppl 1):S9

DOI: 10.1186/1757-7241-21-S1-S9

Published: 28 May 2013

Background

Out-of-cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a common medical emergency with significant mortality and significant neurological morbidity. Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) may be tasked to OHCA. We sought to assess the impact of tasking a HEMS service to OHCA and characterise the nature of these calls.

Method

Retrospective case review of all HEMS calls to Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, United Kingdom, over a 1-year period (1/9/2010-1/9/2011).

Results

HEMS was activated 89 times to suspected OHCA. This represented 11% of the total HEMS missions. In 23 cases HEMS was stood-down en-route and in 2 cases the patient had not suffered an OHCA on arrival of HEMS. 25 patients achieved return-of-spontaneous circulation (ROSC), 13 (52%) prior to HEMS arrival. The HEMS team were never first on-scene. The median time from first collapse to HEMS arrival was 31 minutes (IQR 22-40). The median time from HEMS activation to arrival on scene was17 minutes (IQR 11.5-21). 19 patients underwent pre-hospital anaesthesia, 5 patients had electrical or chemical cardioversion and 19 patients had therapeutic hypothermia initiated by HEMS. Only 1 post-OHCA patient was transported to hospital by air.

Conclusion

OHCA represents a significant proportion of HEMS call outs. HEMS most commonly attend post-ROSC OHCA patients and interventions, including pre-hospital anaesthesia and therapeutic hypothermia should be targeted to this phase. HEMS are rarely first on-scene and should only be tasked as a first response to OHCA in remote locations. HEMS may be most appropriately utilised in OHCA by only attending the scene if a patient achieves ROSC.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Kent, Sussex Air Ambulance

Copyright

© Lyon and Nelson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Advertisement