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J Emerg Med. 2002 Jul;23(1):43-8.

Eight minutes or less: does the ambulance response time guideline impact trauma patient outcome?

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine and Denver Paramedic Division, Denver Health Medical Center, Colorado, USA.


Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies are increasingly being held to an ambulance response time (RT) criterion of responding to a medical emergency within 8 min for at least 90% of calls. This recommendation resulted from one study of outcome after nontraumatic cardiac arrest and has never been studied for any other emergency. This retrospective study evaluates the effect of exceeding the 8 min RT guideline on patient survival for victims of traumatic injury treated by an urban paramedic ambulance EMS system and transported to a single Level I trauma center. Of 3576 patients identified by the hospital trauma registry, 3490 (97.6%) had complete records available. Patients were grouped according to ambulance RT: < or = 8 min (n = 2450) or > 8 min (n = 1040). After controlling for other significant predictors, there was no difference in survival after traumatic injury when the 8 min ambulance RT criteria was exceeded (mortality odds ratio 0.81, 95% CI 0.43-1.52). There was also no significant difference in survival when patients were stratified by injury severity score group. Exceeding the ambulance industry response time criterion of 8 min does not affect patient survival after traumatic injury.

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