Kantonsspital St.Gallen
login

Incidence and challenges of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) rescue missions with helicopter hoist operations: analysis of 11,228 daytime and nighttime missions in Switzerland

Urs Pietsch, Jürgen Knapp, Michael Mann, Lorenz Meuli, Volker Lischke, Mario Tissi, Stephen Sollid, Simon Rauch, Volker Wenzel, Stefan Becker & Roland Albrecht

abstract

OBJECTIVE
We aimed to investigate the medical characteristics of helicopter hoist operations (HHO) in HEMS missions.

METHODS
We designed a retrospective study evaluating all HHO and other human external cargo (HEC) missions performed by Swiss Air-Rescue (Rega) between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2019.

RESULTS
During the study period, 9,963 (88.7 %) HEMS missions with HHO and HEC were conducted during the day, and 1,265 (11.3 %) at night. Of the victims with time-critical injuries (NACA ≥ 4), 21.1 % (n = 400) reached the hospital within 60 min during the day, and 9.1 % (n = 18) at night. Nighttime missions, a trauma diagnosis, intubation on-site, and NACA Score ≥ 4 were independently and highly significantly associated with longer mission times (p < 0.001). The greatest proportion of patients who needed hoist or HEC operations in the course of the HEMS mission during the daytime sustained moderate injuries (NACA 3, n = 3,731, 37.5 %) while practicing recreational activities (n = 5,492, 55.1 %). In daytime HHO missions, the most common medical interventions performed were insertion of a peripheral intravenous access (n = 3,857, 38.7 %) and administration of analgesia (n = 3,121, 31.3 %).

CONCLUSIONS
Nearly 20 % of patients who needed to be evacuated by a hoist were severely injured, and complex and lifesaving medical interventions were necessary before the HHO procedure. Therefore, only adequately trained and experienced medical crew members should accompany HHO missions.
   
citation Pietsch U, Knapp J, Mann M, Meuli L, Lischke V, Tissi M, Sollid S, Rauch S, Wenzel V, Becker S, Albrecht R. Incidence and challenges of helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) rescue missions with helicopter hoist operations: analysis of 11,228 daytime and nighttime missions in Switzerland. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med 2021; 29:92.
   
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 12-07-2021
journal title Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med (29/1)
ISSN electronic 1757-7241
pages 92
PubMed 34253244
DOI 10.1186/s13049-021-00898-y