Can a screening tool safely identify low risk cardiac patients to be transported with primary care flight paramedics?

Justin Godbout, Sean W Moore, Bruce Sawadsky, Andy Pan, Christian Vaillancourt
CJEM 2020, 22 (S2): S38-S44

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine the rate of adverse events during interfacility transport of cardiac patients identified as low risk by a consensus-derived screening tool and transported by primary care flight paramedics (PCP(f)).

METHODS: We conducted a health records review of adult patients diagnosed with a cardiac condition who were identified as low risk by the screening tool and transported by PCP(f). We excluded patients transported by an advanced care crew, those accompanied by a clinical escort from hospital, and those transported from a scene call, by rotary wing or ground vehicle. We recorded patient and transportation parameters using a piloted-standardized collection tool. We defined adverse events during transport a priori. We report descriptive statistics using mean (standard deviation), [range], (percentage).

RESULTS: We included 400 patients: mean age 66.9 years old, 66.5% male. Mean transport duration was 136.2 (74.9) minutes. Most common comorbidities were hypertension (50.3%) and coronary artery disease (39.5%). Most transports originated out of Northern Ontario and were for cardiac catheterization (61.8%) or coronary artery bypass grafting (26.8%). Overall, the adverse event rate was low (0.3%), with no serious event such as cardiac arrest, death, or airway intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: A screening tool can identify cardiac patients at low risk for clinical deterioration during air-medical transport. We believe patients screened with this tool can be transported safely by a PCP(f) crew, leading to potentially significant resource savings.

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