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Concept: Emergency medical services

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Background Worldwide, 2.75 billion passengers fly on commercial airlines annually. When in-flight medical emergencies occur, access to care is limited. We describe in-flight medical emergencies and the outcomes of these events. Methods We reviewed records of in-flight medical emergency calls from five domestic and international airlines to a physician-directed medical communications center from January 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010. We characterized the most common medical problems and the type of on-board assistance rendered. We determined the incidence of and factors associated with unscheduled aircraft diversion, transport to a hospital, and hospital admission, and we determined the incidence of death. Results There were 11,920 in-flight medical emergencies resulting in calls to the center (1 medical emergency per 604 flights). The most common problems were syncope or presyncope (37.4% of cases), respiratory symptoms (12.1%), and nausea or vomiting (9.5%). Physician passengers provided medical assistance in 48.1% of in-flight medical emergencies, and aircraft diversion occurred in 7.3%. Of 10,914 patients for whom postflight follow-up data were available, 25.8% were transported to a hospital by emergency-medical-service personnel, 8.6% were admitted, and 0.3% died. The most common triggers for admission were possible stroke (odds ratio, 3.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.88 to 6.03), respiratory symptoms (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.48 to 3.06), and cardiac symptoms (odds ratio, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.37 to 2.77). Conclusions Most in-flight medical emergencies were related to syncope, respiratory symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms, and a physician was frequently the responding medical volunteer. Few in-flight medical emergencies resulted in diversion of aircraft or death; one fourth of passengers who had an in-flight medical emergency underwent additional evaluation in a hospital. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Physician, First aid, Emergency medical services, Aircraft, Airline, Avianca, Airlines

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BACKGROUND: Increasing demand on the UK emergency services is creating interest in reviewing the structure and content of ambulance services. Only 10% of emergency calls have been seen to be life-threatening and, thus, paramedics, as many patients' first contact with the health service, have the potential to use their skills to reduce the demand on Emergency Departments. This systematic literature review aimed to identify evidence of paramedics trained with extra skills and the impact of this on patient care and interrelating services such as General Practices or Emergency Departments. METHODS: International literature from Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ProQuest, Scopus and grey literature from 1990 were included. Articles about any prehospital emergency care provider trained with extra skill(s) beyond their baseline competencies and evaluated in practice were included. Specific procedures for certain conditions and the extensively evaluated UK Emergency Care Practitioner role were excluded. RESULTS: 8724 articles were identified, of which 19 met the inclusion criteria. 14 articles considered paramedic patient assessment and management skills, two articles considered paramedic safeguarding skills, two health education and learning sharing and one health information. There is valuable evidence for paramedic assessing and managing patients autonomously to reduce Emergency Department conveyance which is acceptable to patients and carers. Evidence for other paramedic skills is less robust, reflecting a difficulty with rigorous research in prehospital emergency care. CONCLUSIONS: This review identifies many viable extra skills for paramedics but the evidence is not strong enough to guide policy. The findings should be used to guide future research, particularly into paramedic care for elderly people.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Health, Hospital, Systematic review, Ambulance, Emergency medical services, Paramedic

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Background During cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the interruption of manual chest compressions for rescue breathing reduces blood flow and possibly survival. We assessed whether outcomes after continuous compressions with positive-pressure ventilation differed from those after compressions that were interrupted for ventilations at a ratio of 30 compressions to two ventilations. Methods This cluster-randomized trial with crossover included 114 emergency medical service (EMS) agencies. Adults with non-trauma-related cardiac arrest who were treated by EMS providers received continuous chest compressions (intervention group) or interrupted chest compressions (control group). The primary outcome was the rate of survival to hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included the modified Rankin scale score (on a scale from 0 to 6, with a score of ≤3 indicating favorable neurologic function). CPR process was measured to assess compliance. Results Of 23,711 patients included in the primary analysis, 12,653 were assigned to the intervention group and 11,058 to the control group. A total of 1129 of 12,613 patients with available data (9.0%) in the intervention group and 1072 of 11,035 with available data (9.7%) in the control group survived until discharge (difference, -0.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.5 to 0.1; P=0.07); 7.0% of the patients in the intervention group and 7.7% of those in the control group survived with favorable neurologic function at discharge (difference, -0.6 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.4 to 0.1, P=0.09). Hospital-free survival was significantly shorter in the intervention group than in the control group (mean difference, -0.2 days; 95% CI, -0.3 to -0.1; P=0.004). Conclusions In patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, continuous chest compressions during CPR performed by EMS providers did not result in significantly higher rates of survival or favorable neurologic function than did interrupted chest compressions. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; ROC CCC ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01372748 .).

Concepts: Cardiac arrest, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Asystole, First aid, Emergency medical services, Drowning, Artificial respiration, Respiratory arrest

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The survival rate of sudden Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCAs) increases by early notification of Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) and early application of basic life support (BLS) techniques and defibrillation. A Text Message ™ alert system for trained volunteers in the community was implemented in the Netherlands to reduce response times. The aim of this study was to assess if this system improves survival after OHCA.

Concepts: Cardiac arrest, Asystole, Emergency medical services, Emergency medical technician, Prostitution in the Netherlands, North Sea, Basic life support

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At 2:50 p.m. on April 15, nearly 3 hours after the first runner completed the Boston Marathon, two blasts ripped through the crowd that was gathered along the approach to the finish line, killing 3 people and injuring more than 260. Within moments, the crowd’s initial panic was replaced by purposeful action, as bystanders ran to, rather than from, the horror to help the injured. Law-enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel swiftly converged on the scene. Within minutes, ambulances began transporting the most critically injured to nearby hospitals. Once victims reached Boston’s hospitals, the story continued in the same . . .

Concepts: Ambulance, Emergency medical services, Massachusetts, Emergency medical technician, Marathon, Boston Marathon, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, World Marathon Majors

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Early transfusion of packed red blood cells (PRBC) has been associated with improved survival in patients with haemorrhagic shock. This study aims to describe the characteristics of patients receiving pre-hospital blood transfusion and evaluate their subsequent need for in-hospital transfusion and surgery.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood, Red blood cell, Hematology, Ambulance, Emergency medical services, Blood transfusion, Emergency medical technician

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On August 15, 2016, the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Huntington, West Virginia, notified the Cabell-Huntington Health Department (CHHD) of multiple calls regarding opioid overdose received by the emergency medical system (EMS) during 3 p.m.-8 p.m. that day. A public health investigation and response conducted by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (BPH) and CHHD identified 20 opioid overdose cases within a 53-hour period in Cabell County; all cases included emergency department (ED) encounters. EMS personnel, other first responders, and ED providers administered the opioid antidote naloxone to 16 (80%) patients, six of whom were administered multiple doses, suggesting exposure to a highly potent opioid. No patients received referral for recovery support services. In addition to the public health investigation, a public safety investigation was conducted; comprehensive opioid toxicology testing of clinical specimens identified the synthetic opioid fentanyl* and novel fentanyl analogs, including carfentanil,(†) which had been used by patients who overdosed in Huntington. Results of these two investigations highlight the importance of collaboration between public health and public safety agencies to provide in-depth surveillance data from opioid overdose outbreaks that involve high-potency fentanyl analogs. These data facilitated a public health response through increased awareness of powerful opioid substances requiring multiple naloxone doses for reversal, and improved patient linkage to recovery support services and a harm reduction program from the ED after opioid overdose.

Concepts: Opioid, Morphine, Heroin, Naloxone, Emergency medical services, Drug overdose, Huntington, West Virginia, Cabell County, West Virginia

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On the evening of June 23, 2016, a white powder advertised as cocaine was purchased off the streets from multiple sources and used by an unknown number of persons in New Haven, Connecticut. During a period of less than 8 hours, 12 patients were brought to the emergency department (ED) at Yale New Haven Hospital, experiencing signs and symptoms consistent with opioid overdose. The route of intoxication was not known, but presumed to be insufflation (“snorting”) in most cases. Some patients required doses of the opioid antidote naloxone exceeding 4 mg (usual initial dose = 0.1-0.2 mg intravenously), and several patients who were alert after receiving naloxone subsequently developed respiratory failure. Nine patients were admitted to the hospital, including four to the intensive care unit (ICU); three required endotracheal intubation, and one required continuous naloxone infusion. Three patients died. The white powder was determined to be fentanyl, a drug 50 times more potent than heroin, and it included trace amounts of cocaine. The episode triggered rapid notification of public health and law enforcement agencies, interviews of patients and their family members to trace and limit further use or distribution of the fentanyl, immediate naloxone resupply and augmentation for emergency medical services (EMS) crews, public health alerts, and plans to accelerate naloxone distribution to opioid users and their friends and families. Effective communication and timely, coordinated, collaborative actions of community partners reduced the harm caused by this event and prevented potential subsequent episodes.

Concepts: Hospital, Morphine, Heroin, Naloxone, Intubation, Emergency medical services, Drug overdose, Law enforcement agency

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Marlise Muñoz was 33 years old and the mother of a 15-month-old when she collapsed on November 26, 2013, from what was later determined to be a massive pulmonary embolism. Initially described as apneic but alive, she was brought to the county hospital where her family was soon told that she was brain dead. Ms. Muñoz and her husband, both emergency medical technicians (EMTs), had discussed their feelings about such situations. So Erik Muñoz felt confident in asserting that his wife would not want continued support. Her other family members agreed, and they requested withdrawal of ventilation and other measures . . .

Concepts: Family, Marriage, Shock, Pulmonary embolism, Mother, Emergency medical services, Emergency medical technician, Wife

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The aim of this study was to develop and internally validate a triage score that can identify trauma patients at the scene who would potentially benefit from helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).

Concepts: Illness, Ambulance, Emergency medical services, Emergency medicine, Paramedic, Emergency medical technician, Emergency physician, R Adams Cowley