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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2009 Oct-Dec;13(4):437-43. doi: 10.1080/10903120903144825.

The effect of adding a second helicopter on trauma-related mortality in a county-based trauma system.

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Departments of Emergency Medicine and Surgery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8350, USA.



Despite conflicting evidence regarding its efficacy, helicopter transportation of trauma victims is widespread. We determined the effect of adding a second helicopter to a countywide emergency medicine system on trauma-related mortality.


A before-and-after trial design was used to compare hospital mortality before and after introducing a second helicopter to the eastern end of Suffolk County, New York, in 2001 aimed at reducing transport times to the regional trauma center. Outcomes before and after introducing the second helicopter were compared with parametric or nonparametric tests as appropriate.


A total of 1,551 trauma patients were included in this study from June 1996 to May 2006, with 705 in the single-helicopter period and 846 in the two-helicopter period. Mean ages, gender distributions, and mean Injury Severity Scores (ISSs) were similar between groups. Total mortality significantly decreased after the addition of the second helicopter (16.2% before vs. 11.9% after; p = 0.02).


Introduction of a second helicopter to the east end of Long Island was associated with a significant reduction in the total trauma mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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