Predictors of Inappropriate Helicopter Transport

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Surgeon


Background: Helicopter transport (HT) is an efficient, but costly, means for injured patients to receive life-saving, definitive trauma care. Identifying the characteristics of inappropriate HT presents an opportunity to improve the utilization of this finite medical resource. Methods: Trauma registry records of all HT for a 3-year period (2016-2018) to an urban Level I trauma center were reviewed. HT was defined as inappropriate for patients who were discharged home from the emergency department or had a hospital length of stay <1 >day, and who were discharged alive. Chi-square analysis and Student’s t-test were used for univariate analysis. Predictors with a P value of less than.15 were subject to binary logistic regression analysis. A P value ≤.05 was considered significant. Results: There were 713 patients who received HT during the study period. One-hundred and forty-eight (20.8%) patients met the criteria as an inappropriate HT. In univariate analysis, Glasgow Coma Scale >8, Shock Index 55 was found to be associated with an appropriate HT. The average Injury Severity Score of the inappropriate HT group was 3.86 (±3.85) compared with 16.80 (±11.23) (P =.0001, Student’s t-test). Discussion: Our findings suggest that there are evidence-based predictors of patients receiving inappropriate HT. Triage of HT using these predictors has the potential to decrease unnecessary deployments and reduce health care costs.

First Page


Last Page