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The objective of this study was to evaluate the time saved by usage of lights and siren (L&S) during emergency medical transport and measure the total number of time-critical hospital interventions gained by this time difference.
A retrospective study was performed of all advanced life support (ALS) transports using lights and siren to this university emergency department during a three-week period. Consecutive times were measured for 112 transports and compared with measured transport times for a personal vehicle traveling the same day of the week and time of day without lights and siren. The time-critical hospital interventions are defined as procedures or treatments that could not be performed in the prehospital setting requiring a physician. The project assessed whether the patients received the hospital interventions within the average time saved using lights and siren transport.
The average difference in time with versus without L&S was -2.62 minutes (95% CI: -2.60− -2.63, paired t-test p <0.0001). The average transport time with L&S was 14.5 ±7.9 minutes (min) (1 standard deviation/minute (min), range = 1–36 min.). The average transport time without L&S was 17.1 ±8.3 min (range = 1−40 min). Of the 112 charts evaluated, five patients (4.5%) received time-critical hospital interventions. No patients received time-critical interventions within the time saved by utilizing lights and siren. Longer distances did not result in time saved with lights and siren.
Limiting lights and siren use to the patients requiring hospital interventions will decrease the risks of injury and death, while adding the benefit of time saved in these critical patients.
A rapid sequence intubation (RSI) method was introduced to a university-based emergency medical services (EMS) system. This is a report of the initial experience with the first 50 patients in a unique, two-tiered, two-advanced life support (ALS) providers system.
The data were evaluated prospectively after an extensive RSI training period, consisting of didactic information and skills performance. Fifty consecutive patient records that documented the procedure were abstracted. Data abstracted included end-tidal CO2, heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry at various time intervals. Intubation success rates and number of attempts were documented. The consistency of proper documentation also was noted on patient care records.
No differences were noted in heart rate prior to RSI and one and five minutes after the RSI procedure was begun. No differences in blood pressure at one and five minutes were noted. Statistically significant improvements were found in pulse oximetry comparing prior to RSI and one minute after (p < 0.001; 95% CI = 3.15–11.41) as well as prior to RSI and five minutes after RSI was started (p < 0.0002; 95% CI = 4.60–13.33). No differences were observed in end-tidal CO2 at one and five minutes. Overall intubation success rate was 96%, with 82% on first attempt and 92% on two or less attempts. Documentation for individual vitals was consistently <75%.
Patients had no significant worsening of vital signs during the RSI procedure and mild improvement in pulse oximetry. Intubation success rates were consistent with national averages. Proper documentation was lacking in more than one quarter of the charts. These data add to a body of literature that raises further concerns regarding prehospital RSI.
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