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J Burn Care Rehabil. 1991 May-Jun;12(3):229-33.

Helicopter transport of the patient with acute burns.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.


Helicopter transportation of acutely injured or ill patients has become common practice at most major medical centers. However, its specific effectiveness in the transportation of acute-condition patients with burns has never been critically assessed. This study, for the period 1984 through 1988, evaluated the use of the helicopter for transportation of acute-condition patients with burns to a regional burn center for a rural area. It is concluded that helicopter transport within a 180-mile radius in a non-hospital-based system is not appreciably faster than is ambulance transport, and does not clinically benefit most burned patients. Consideration such as safety, cost, and working space are discussed. It is recommended that at least one of three criteria be met before helicopter transfer is considered for patients with burns: the surface area involved should be enough to require a formal fluid resuscitation, an inhalation injury should be present or suspected, or there should be a possible need for an escharotomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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