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P010: A systematic review of the association between emergency medical services (EMS) time factors and survival

  • I. Blanchard (a1), A. Patel (a1), D. Lane (a1), A. Couperthwaite (a1), D. Chisholm (a1), D. Yergens (a1), G. Lazarenko (a1), D. Lorenzetti (a1), E. Lang (a1), C. Doig (a1) and W. Ghali (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: EMS time factors such as total prehospital, activation, response, scene and transport intervals have been used as a measure of EMS system quality with the assumption that shorter EMS time factors save lives. The objective was to assess in adults and children accessing ground EMS (population), whether operational time factors (intervention and control) were associated with survival at hospital discharge (outcome). Methods: Medline, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched up to January 2015 for articles reporting original data that associated EMS operational time factors and survival. Conference abstracts and non-English language articles were excluded. Two investigators independently assessed the candidate titles, abstracts, and full text with discrepant reviews resolved by consensus. Risk of bias was assessed using GRADE. Results: A total of 10,151 abstracts were screened for potential inclusion, 199 articles were reviewed in full-text, and 73 met inclusion criteria. Amongst included studies, 49 investigated response time, while 24 investigated other time factors. All articles were observational studies. Amongst the 14 (28.6%) studies where response time was the primary analysis, statistically significant associations between shorter response time and increased survival were found in 5 of 7 cardiac arrest, 1 of 5 general EMS population, and 0 of 2 trauma studies. Other time factors were reported in the primary analysis in 10 (41.7%) studies. One study reported shorter combined scene and transport intervals associated with increased survival in acute heart failure patients. Two studies in trauma patients had somewhat conflicting results with one study reporting shorter prehospital interval associated with increased survival whereas the other reported increased survival associated with longer scene and transport intervals. Study design, analysis, and methodological quality were of considerable variability, and thus, meta-analyses were not possible. Conclusion: There is a substantial body of literature describing the association between EMS time factors and survival, but evidence informing these relationships are heterogeneous and complex. Important details such as patient population, EMS system characteristics, and analytical approach must be taken into consideration to appropriately translate these findings to practice. These results will be important for EMS leaders wishing to create evidence-based time policies.

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