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Medical aspects of helicopter rescue missions involving winching of a physician
Title of the conference
Gemeinsame Jahrestagung Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Intensivmedizin Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Pulmonale Hypertonie Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Notfall- und Rettungsmedizin Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft für Intensivpflege Gast: Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft Notfallpflege
Interlaken, Schweiz, 8.-10. September 2011
Swiss Medical Forum
Introduction: Whereas the use of helicopters as a rapid means toreach victims and to bring them to a secure place is well-recognized,very few data are available about the value of winching physicians toprovide medical care for the victims directly on-site. We sought to studythe medical aspects of alpine helicopter rescue operations involving thewinching of an emergency physician to the victim.Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical reports of a singlehelicopter-based emergency medical service. Data from 1 January 2003to 31 December 2008 were analyzed. Cases with emergency callindicating that the victim was deceased were excluded. Data includedthe category (trauma or illnesses), and severity (NACA score) of theinjuries, along with the main medical procedures performed on site.Results: 9879 rescue missions were conducted between 1 January2003 and 31 December 2008. The 921 (9.3%) missions involvingwinching of the emergency physician were analysed. 840 (91%)patients suffered from trauma-related injuries. The cases of the 81 (9%)people presenting with medical emergencies were, when compared tothe trauma victims, significantly more severe according to the NACAindex (p <0.001). Overall, 246 (27%) patients had a severe injury orillness, namely, a potential or overt vital threat (NACA score between4-6, table 1). A total of 478 (52%) patients required administration ofmajor analgesics: fentanyl (443 patients; 48%), ketamine (42 patients;5%) or morphine (7 patients; 1%). The mean dose of fentanyl was 188micrograms (range 25-750, SD 127). Major medical interventions wereperformed 72 times on 39 (4%) patients (table 2).Conclusions: The severity of the patients' injuries or illnesses alongwith the high proportion of medical procedures performed directlyon-site validate emergency physician winching for advanced life supportprocedures and analgesia.
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