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CMAJ. 2008 Apr 22;178(9):1141-52. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.071154.

The OPALS Major Trauma Study: impact of advanced life-support on survival and morbidity.

Author information

1
The Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ottawa, and the Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ont.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To date, the benefit of prehospital advanced life-support programs on trauma-related mortality and morbidity has not been established

METHODS:

The Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) Major Trauma Study was a before-after systemwide controlled clinical trial conducted in 17 cities. We enrolled adult patients who had experienced major trauma in a basic life-support phase and a subsequent advanced life-support phase (during which paramedics were able to perform endotracheal intubation and administer fluids and drugs intravenously). The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge.

RESULTS:

Among the 2867 patients enrolled in the basic life-support (n = 1373) and advanced life-support (n = 1494) phases, characteristics were similar, including mean age (44.8 v. 47.5 years), frequency of blunt injury (92.0% v. 91.4%), median injury severity score (24 v. 22) and percentage of patients with Glasgow Coma Scale score less than 9 (27.2% v. 22.1%). Survival did not differ overall (81.1% among patients in the advanced life-support phase v. 81.8% among those in the basic life-support phase; p = 0.65). Among patients with Glasgow Coma Scale score less than 9, survival was lower among those in the advanced life-support phase (50.9% v. 60.0%; p = 0.02). The adjusted odds of death for the advanced life-support v. basic life-support phases were nonsignificant (1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.9-1.7; p = 0.16).

INTERPRETATION:

The OPALS Major Trauma Study showed that systemwide implementation of full advanced life-support programs did not decrease mortality or morbidity for major trauma patients. We also found that during the advanced life-support phase, mortality was greater among patients with Glasgow Coma Scale scores less than 9. We believe that emergency medical services should carefully re-evaluate the indications for and application of prehospital advanced life-support measures for patients who have experienced major trauma.

PMID:
18427089
PMCID:
PMC2292763
DOI:
10.1503/cmaj.071154
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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