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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had important consequences on the health system. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were a key element in the response and were forced to modify their daily procedures. The main objective of this study was to find out if there were differences in response times and in the profile of patients treated by the Advanced Life Support (ALS) units of Servicio de Asistencia Médica Urgente (SAMU)-Asturias, the EMS of the Principality of Asturias, between the pre-pandemic period and the pandemic period.
This was a descriptive, cross-sectional, observational, and retrospective study that included all patients treated by SAMU-Asturias ALS from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.
The pandemic has had an impact on daily activity of SAMU-Asturias, with a 9.2% decrease in daily ALS services during the pandemic, longer prehospital times during the pandemic period (mean = 54’35”; SD = 0’48”; P = 0.00) mainly due to an increase in scene time (mean = 28’01”; SD = 12’57”; P = 0.00), and a slight increase in the average age of patients during the pandemic in relation to the pre-pandemic period. No differences were found between the types of incidents for ALS or between the resolution of the patients.
The COVID-19 pandemic mainly affects prehospital times in an emergency service, with no differences being observed in types of incidents; in EMS future pandemic planning, this should be taken into consideration.
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a significant global cause of mortality, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response interval is critical for survival and a neurologically-favorable outcome. Currently, it is unclear whether EMS response interval, neurologically-intact survival, and overall survival differ between snowy and non-snowy periods at heavy snowfall areas.
A nation-wide population-based cohort of OHCA patients, registered from 2017 through 2019 in the All-Japan Utstein Registry, was divided into four groups according to areas (heavy snowfall area or other area) and seasons (winter or non-winter): heavy snowfall-winter, heavy snowfall-non-winter, other area-winter, and other area-non-winter. The first coprimary outcome was EMS response interval, and the secondary coprimary outcome was one-month survival and a neurologically-favorable outcome at one month.
A total of 337,781 OHCA patients were divided into four groups: heavy snowfall-winter (N = 15,627), heavy snowfall-non-winter (N = 97,441), other area-winter (N = 32,955), and other area-non-winter (N = 191,758). Longer EMS response intervals (>13 minutes) were most likely in the heavy snowfall-winter group (OR = 1.86; 95% CI, 1.76 to 1.97), and also more likely in heavy snowfall areas in non-winter (OR = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.38 to 1.50). One-month survival in winter was worse not only in the heavy snowfall area (OR = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.78 to 0.94) but also in other areas (OR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.94). One-month neurologically-favorable outcomes were also comparable between heavy snowfall-winter and other area-non-winter groups.
This study showed OHCA in heavy snowfall areas in winter resulted in longer EMS response intervals. However, heavy snowfall had little effect on one-month survival or neurologically-favorable outcome at one month.
Several studies have shown the additional benefit of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) by prehospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Since organization of EMS may vary significantly across countries, the value of POCUS likely depends on the prehospital system in which it is used. In order to be able to optimally implement POCUS and develop a tailored training curriculum, it is important to know how often POCUS is currently used, for which indications it is used, and how it affects decision making. The aims of this study were: (1) to determine the percentage of patients in whom POCUS was used by Dutch Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) crews; (2) to determine how often POCUS findings led to changes in on-scene management; and (3) what these changes were.
Patients who received prehospital care from December 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021 by a single HEMS crew were included in this prospective cohort study. Clinical data and specific data on POCUS examination, findings, and therapeutic consequences were collected and analyzed.
During the study period, on-scene HEMS care was provided to 612 patients, of which 211 (34.5%) patients underwent POCUS. Of these, 209 (34.2%) patients with a median age of 45 years were included. There were 131 (62.7%) trauma patients, and 70 (33.7%) of the included patients underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The median reported time of POCUS examination was three (P25-P75 2-5) minutes. Median prolongation of on-scene time was zero (P25-P75 0-1) minutes. In 85 (40.7%) patients, POCUS examination had therapeutic consequence: POCUS was found to impact treatment decisions in 34 (26.0%) trauma patients and 51 (65.4%) non-trauma patients. In patients with cardiac arrest, POCUS was most often used to aid decision making with regard to terminating or continuing resuscitation (28 patients; 13.4%).
During the study period, POCUS examination was used in 34.5% of all prehospital HEMS patients and had a therapeutic consequence in 40.7% of patients. In trauma patients, POCUS seems to be most effective for patient triage and evaluation of treatment effectiveness. Moreover, POCUS can be of significant value in patients undergoing CPR. A tailored HEMS POCUS training curriculum should include ultrasound techniques for trauma and cardiac arrest.
The Stop the Bleed campaign provided civilians with tourniquet application training and increased the demand for tourniquets among the general population, which led to the development of new commercially available devices. However, most widely available tourniquets have not undergone testing by regulatory bodies and their efficacy remains unknown.
This study aimed to compare the efficacy and performance of Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT) versus uncertified tourniquets.
This study compared 25 CAT with 50 commercially available “look-alike” tourniquets (LA-TQ) resembling the CAT. The CAT and the LA-TQ were compared for cost, size, and tested during one-hour and six-hour applications on a manikin’s leg. The outcomes were force applied, force variation during the application, and tourniquet rupture rate.
The LA-TQ were cheaper (US$6.07 versus US$27.19), shorter, and had higher inter-device variability than the CAT (90.1 [SE = 0.5] cm versus 94.5 [SE = 0.1] cm; P <.001). The CAT applied a significantly greater force during the initial application when compared to the LA-TQ (65 [SE = 3] N versus 14 [SE = 1] N; P <.001). While the initial application force was maintained for up to six hours in both groups, the CAT group applied an increased force during one-hour applications (group effect: F [1,73] = 105.65; P <.001) and during six-hour applications (group effect: F [1,12] = 9.79; P = .009). The rupture rate differed between the CAT and the LA-TQ (0% versus 4%).
The LA-TQ applied a significantly lower force and had a higher rupture rate compared to the CAT, potentially affecting tourniquet performance in the context of public bleeding control. These findings warrant increased layperson education within the framework of the Stop the Bleed campaign and further investigations on the effectiveness of uncertified devices in real-world applications.
Treatment of seriously ill patients is often complicated by prolonged or complex transfers between hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. Difficulties or inefficiency in these transfers can lead to poor outcomes for patients. “On-call” triage systems have been utilized to facilitate communication between facilities and to avoid poor outcomes associated with patient transfer. This study attempts to examine the effects of a pilot study to implement such a system in Rwanda.
Data collection occurred prospectively in two stages, pre-intervention and intervention, in the emergency department (ED) at Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK). All patients transferred during the pre-determined timeframe were enrolled. Data were collected by ED research staff via a standardized form. Statistical analysis was performed using STATA version 15.0. Differences in characteristics were assessed using χ2 or Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and independent sample t-tests for normally distributed continuous variables.
During the “on call” physician intervention, the indication for transfer was significantly more likely to be for critical care (P <.001), transfer times were faster (P <.001), patients were more likely to be displaying emergency signs (P <.001), and vital signs were more likely to be collected prior to transport (P <.001) when compared to the pre-interventional phase.
The “[Emergency Medicine] EM Doc On Call” intervention was associated with improved timely interhospital transfer and clinical documentation in Rwanda. While these data are not definitive due to multiple limitations, it is extremely promising and worthy of further study.
Patients’ health outcomes can suffer as a result of poor knowledge and unfavorable attitude towards prehospital emergency care. The purpose of this study was to assess emergency health care providers’ (EHCPs’) knowledge, attitude, and associated factors towards prehospital care in selected prehospital Emergency Medical Service institutions in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
An institutional-based cross-sectional study design was conducted among EHCPs working in the three selected prehospital emergency medical care centers in Addis Ababa. Data were collected using a standard self-administered questionnaire, cleaned, coded, and entered into EPI Data Version 6, and then exported to SPSS Version 26 for further analysis. The generated data were compiled using frequency tables, charts, and percentages. Logistic regression analysis was used to see the association between independent and dependent variables.
One hundred thirty-five (135) study participants were included in this study, with a response rate of 95.7%. The mean age of the respondents was 29.2 years (SD = 4.86). Almost three-quarters of the respondents (71.1%) were aged between 26 and 35 years. Of the total participants, 58.5% and 62.2% of EHCPs had good knowledge and a favorable attitude towards prehospital care, respectively. The study revealed that profession (AOR = 3.2; 95% CI, 1.03 - 7.65), educational status (AOR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.08 - 4.93), and having training (AOR = 2.25; 95% CI, 1.33 - 4.52) were significantly associated with the knowledge of EHCPs. This finding also revealed that the respondent’s knowledge (AOR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.05 - 2.32) and having training (AOR = 3.2; 95% CI, 1.24 - 7.83) were significantly associated with EHCPs’ attitudes towards prehospital care.
The knowledge and attitude of EHCPs regarding prehospital care were found to be good and favorable as compared to previous studies. In-service training regarding emergency health conditions and the time needed to care for the patient is important for quality prehospital emergency medical care.
Weight estimation is required to enable dose calculations for weight-based drugs administered during emergency care. The accuracy of the estimation will determine the accuracy of the administered dose. This is an important matter of patient safety. The objective of this systematic review was to collect, review, evaluate, and create a synthesis of the current literature focusing on the accuracy of weight estimation in the prehospital environment.
This systematic review followed the PRISMA guidelines. Studies were identified and included if they were peer reviewed, full length, published in English, and contained original data. Studies utilizing any form of weight estimation methodology in the prehospital setting (in children or adults) were included. Data on the quality of the studies and accuracy of the weight estimation systems were extracted. Common themes were also identified.
Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria, with only nine studies (36.0%) containing useful weight estimation accuracy data. The overall quality of the studies was poor. The Broselow tape and paramedic estimates were the most studied methods of weight estimation, but there was insufficient evidence to support conclusions about accuracy. The major themes identified included the importance of accurate weight estimation and drug dosing as critical matters of patient safety, and the need for training to ensure these processes are performed accurately.
There were limited robust data identified on the accuracy of different weight estimation methods used in the prehospital setting. Future high-quality clinical research in this area is of critical importance to ensure patient safety in the prehospital environment.
Decreasing symptom-to-door (S2D) delay is of vital importance for reducing morbidity and mortality in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). The factors associated with S2D delay in STEMI patients have not been well-characterized.
The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with S2D delay in patients with STEMI.
The PubMed, CINAHL, and Embase databases were searched for data. References from the selected articles and relevant background papers were also manually searched to identify additional eligible studies. The included articles were reviewed and assessed for risk of bias. The level of evidence for each identified factor was evaluated using a semiquantitative synthesis.
Twelve (12) papers were included in the review. Factors associated with S2D delay were complex and could be divided into sociodemographic, clinical history, and onset characteristics. The level of evidence regarding female sex and diabetes was strong, and the evidence was moderate regarding older age, smoking, history of hypertension, self-transport, or referral.
Female sex, older age, previous diabetes, previous hypertension, smoking, and self-transport are all strong or moderate risk factors for S2D time delay in patients with ST-segment myocardial infarction. More efforts should be made to educate at-risk populations concerning symptoms of STEMI and the importance of seeking early medical assistance.
An under-developed and fragmented prehospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system is a major obstacle to the timely care of emergency patients. Insufficient emphasis on prehospital emergency systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) currently causes a substantial number of avoidable deaths from time-sensitive illnesses, highlighting a critical need for improved prehospital emergency care systems. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to assess the prehospital emergency care services across LMICs.
This systematic review used four electronic databases, namely: PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and SCOPUS, to search for published reports on prehospital emergency medical care in LMICs. Only peer-reviewed studies published in English language from January 1, 2010 through November 1, 2022 were included in the review. The Newcastle–Ottawa Scale (NOS) and Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist were used to assess the methodological quality of the included studies. Further, the protocol of this systematic review has been registered on the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) database (Ref: CRD42022371936) and has been conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.
Of the 4,909 identified studies, a total of 87 studies met the inclusion criteria and were therefore included in the review. Prehospital emergency care structure, transport care, prehospital times, health outcomes, quality of information exchange, and patient satisfaction were the most reported outcomes in the considered studies.
The prehospital care system in LMICs is fragmented and uncoordinated, lacking trained medical personnel and first responders, inadequate basic materials, and substandard infrastructure.
In far-forward combat situations, the military challenged dogma by using whole blood transfusions (WBTs) rather than component-based therapy. More recently, some trauma centers have initiated WBT programs with reported success. There are a few Emergency Medical Service (EMS) systems that are using WBTs, but the vast majority are not. Given the increasing data supporting the use of WBTs in the prehospital setting, more EMS systems are likely to consider or begin WBT programs in the future.
A prehospital WBT program was recently implemented in Palm Beach County, Florida (USA). This report will discuss how the program was implemented, the obstacles faced, and the initial results.
This report describes the process by which a prehospital WBT program was implemented by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and the outcomes of the initial case series of patients who received WBTs in this system. Efforts to initiate the prehospital WBT program for this system began in 2018. The program had several obstacles to overcome, with one of the major obstacles being the legal team’s perception of potential liability that might occur with a new prehospital blood transfusion program. This obstacle was overcome through education of local elected officials regarding the latest scientific evidence in favor of prehospital WBTs with potential life-saving benefits to the community. After moving past this hurdle, the program went live on July 6, 2022. The initial indications for transfusion of cold-stored, low titer, leukoreduced O+ whole blood in the prehospital setting included traumatic injuries with systolic blood pressure (SBP) < 70mmHg or SBP < 90mmHg plus heart rate (HR) > 110 beats per minute.
From the date of onset through December 31, 2022, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue transported a total of 881 trauma activation patients, with 20 (2.3%) receiving WBT. Overall, nine (45%) of the patients who had received WBTs so far remain alive. No adverse events related to transfusion were identified following WBT administration. A total of 18 units of whole blood reached expiration of the unit’s shelf life prior to transfusion.
Despite a number of logistical and legal obstacles, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue successfully implemented a prehospital WBT program. Other EMS systems that are considering a prehospital WBT program should review the included protocol and the barriers to implementation that were faced.
Spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) is one of the potential barriers to human long-duration spaceflight (LDSF), including a manned mission to Mars. While a large barrier, the pathophysiology of SANS is not well understood, and functional and structural findings from SANS continue to be further characterized. Currently on the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled visual assessments are static visual acuity, Amsler grid, and a self-reported survey. Additional visual assessments may help the understanding of this neuro-ophthalmic phenomenon, as well as the effects of spaceflight of overall ocular health. In this paper, a case is made for expanding scheduled visual assessments to include dynamic visual, contrast sensitivity (CS), visual field testing, and virtual reality-based metamorphopsia assessment during spaceflight. These further assessments may play a key role in helping to determine the structural and functional changes associated with SANS, which are crucial to maintain astronaut vision during LDSF, as well as for developing countermeasures. Finally, a brief discussion is provided about current challenges to expanding visual testing during spaceflight and potential solutions to these barriers, specifically head-mounted visual assessment technology.
Following the two earthquakes that occurred in Turkey on February 6, 2023 with magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.5, causing over 50,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries, France proposed to deploy, via the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM), the French Civil Protection Field Hospital (ESCRIM [Élément de Sécurité Civile Rapide d’Intervention Médicale]): the French World Health Organization (WHO)-classified Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Level 2 (EMT2).
After the acceptance from Turkey on February 8, a disaster assessment team (DAT) was sent on February 10, 2023. It was decided, with local health authorities (LHA), to set up the field hospital in Gölbaşi, Adiyaman Province where the State Hospital was closed due to a structural risk.
Arriving in Gölbaşi on February 13 at 2:00am in -12°C (10°F) temperatures, the detachment had no choice but to begin setting up the base of operation (BoO). At dawn, the cold was so intense that one doctor suffered from frostbite. Once the BoO was installed, the team set up the hospital tents. From 11:00am, the sun melted the snow and the ground became very muddy. The objective being to open the hospital as soon as possible, installation of the hospital continued, and it opened on February 14 at 12:00pm/noon, less than 36 hours after on-site arrival.
This article describes the mechanics of setting up an EMT-2 in a cold climate, the many problems encountered, and the solutions imagined and proposed.
In anticipation of space exploration where astronauts are traveling away from Earth, and for longer durations with an increasing communication lag, artificial intelligence (AI) frameworks such as large language learning models (LLMs) that can be trained on Earth can provide real-time answers. This emerging technology may be helpful for acute medical emergencies, particularly in austere and distant space environments. In this manuscript, we provide an overview of generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) technology, a rapidly emerging AI technology, and implications, considerations, and limitations of such technology for space health.
Music Therapy (MT) is a growing field that has shown promise in promoting social and emotional well-being. Use of music therapy is a means of dealing with social anxiety, which is a common mental health problem. Potential benefits of using and bridging ethnic music in therapy and public health exist. Strategies to promote the use of music therapy in public health programs are necessary, specifically to address social anxiety.
Human trafficking is associated with wide-ranging mental and physical morbidity, as well as mortality, in the United States and globally. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers are often first responders to victims of human trafficking. Given their proximity to patients’ social and environmental circumstances, these clinicians need to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of human trafficking, as well understand how to best provide care for suspected or confirmed trafficked patients. Evidence from multiple studies indicates that providers who have received formal training may be better able to recognize the signs and symptoms of human trafficking, and thus, can provide better care to potential victims of human trafficking. This review will summarize the relevance of human trafficking to prehospital emergency care, touch on best practices for the care of patients with suspected or confirmed ties to human trafficking, and outline future directions for education and research.
Here discussed is the relevance of non-pharmacological therapy, especially cooking therapy, in supporting the mental health recovery of adolescent disaster victims, especially those affected by the natural eruption of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.