Table of Contents
ISRN Emergency Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 508579, 5 pages
Research Article

Optimizing Transport Time from Accident to Hospital: When to Drive and When to Fly?

1Department of Anaesthesiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
3Department of Surgery, University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
4Regional Emergency Healthcare Network, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Received 30 August 2012; Accepted 20 September 2012

Academic Editors: C. C. Chang and R. Cirocchi

Copyright © 2012 D. V. Weerheijm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. In prehospital emergency medicine, rapid transport to a hospital is often required. Transport can be done by ambulance or HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service). Factors influencing transport time are mostly unknown. This study aims to identify these factors and optimize prehospital transport times. Methods. This is a retrospective study with HEMS data from 2010-2011. Trauma mechanism, patient characteristics, and weather conditions were collected from each transport. Distance to the hospital, predicted transport time, and the actual transport time were calculated. Each factor was analysed to determine influence on transport time. Results. We analysed 732 cases (612 by ambulance and 120 by helicopter) and found no association between mechanism of trauma, age, time of day, or weather conditions on transport time. However, transport by HEMS helicopter was nearly always faster, even at short distances. The average transport time of ambulance transport was 79% (95% CI 77.1–80.3) of target time, while in helicopter transport this was 39% (95% CI 37.4–42.9). Conclusion. This study shows the advantage of the HEMS helicopter in rapid transport from the scene to the hospital. Transport by helicopter was twice as fast as ground transport, independent of trauma mechanism, distance to hospital, or weather conditions.