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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59738. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059738. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Descriptive analysis of patients' EMS use related to severity in Tokyo: a population-based observational study.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Mito Kyodo General Hospital, University of Tsukuba, Mito City, Ibaraki, Japan. mican-philia@sunny.ocn.ne.jp



Few studies are available on the clinical characteristics of patients using emergency medical transports in Japan. In this study, we aimed to investigate reasons for emergency medical transports and their relation to clinical severity.


We conducted a 3-year population-based observational study of patients transported by ambulance to emergency departments (ED) in the capital of Japan, Tokyo, which has a population of about 13 million. Demographic data, reasons for transport, and the severity of initial assessment at ED were recorded. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds of the clinical severity of each reason for transport.


The number of emergency medical transports in the three-year study period was 1,832,637. Mean age was 53 ± 26. Males were 976,142 (53%). Overall, 92% of all transported patients were in a mild or moderate medical state and patients with the 17 most frequent reasons for transport occupied 82% (1,506,017) of all transports. Pain was the most frequent reason for transport, followed by traffic accident. Considering all the patients and their reasons for transport, patients whose reason was pain or a traffic accident (29% of all patients) were in a relatively mild state compared with patients with other reasons for transport. Patients in an altered mental state in the prehospital setting (6.8% of all patients) were in a more severe medical state than other patients.


In Tokyo, Japan, 92% of transported patients were in a mild or moderate medical state. In particular, most patients from traffic accidents were in a mild state, even though traffic accidents were the second most frequent reason for transport. Patients in an altered mental state were most likely to be in a severe medical state.

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