• Paramedic accuracy and confidence with a trauma triage algorithm: a cross-sectional survey

      Durham, Mark (2017-03)
      Abstract published with permission. Introduction – Since 2008, the UK has been developing trauma networks, with ambulance services adopting triage tools to support these. So far there has been no published work on how UK paramedics use these algorithms. This study aims to evaluate factors affecting the accuracy and self-perceived confidence of paramedics from one UK Ambulance Trust when applying the Major Trauma Decision Tree. Methods – A quantitative cross-sectional survey was e-mailed to every paramedic within the participating Ambulance Trust, asking for basic demographic data and presenting four case studies. Respondents applied the Major Trauma Decision Tree to the case studies, stating which algorithm steps (if any) they triggered, and their appropriate destination. A Likert scale was utilised to explore respondent views on the Major Trauma Decision Tree. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to identify linked factors affecting accuracy/confidence. Results – Of the 1132 paramedics employed by the Trust, 178 completed the survey (16% response rate). Sensitivity with the Major Trauma Decision Tree was 77% (95% CI 72–81%) and specificity, 61% (95% CI 56–66%). The trigger most commonly missed was patient age of greater than 55 years. Respondents reported that transport time to a major trauma centre/trauma unit influenced compliance with the algorithm. Self-perceived confidence was low overall, but correlated positively with frequency of exposure to trauma (rs [178] = 0.323, p < 0.0005). Respondents’ concerns about the reception they would encounter from hospital staff correlated negatively with confidence (rs [178] = –0.459, p < 0.0005). Conclusion – Respondent sensitivity when using the Major Trauma Decision Tree was low, which may be due to paramedic concerns about transport time. The most commonly missed trigger was patient age. Future training may benefit from addressing these points. In addition, respondents’ confidence with the Major Trauma Decision Tree was also low and closely linked with exposure to trauma, and the reception anticipated from hospital staff.
    • Pre-hospital anaesthesia and assessment of head injured patients presenting to a UK Helicopter Emergency Medical Service with a high Glasgow Coma Scale: a cohort study

      Bootland, Duncan; Rose, Caroline; Barrett, Jack; Lyon, Richard M.; Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (2019-02)
      Objectives Patients who sustain a head injury but maintain a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13–15 may still be suffering from a significant brain injury. We aimed to assess the appropriateness of triage and decision to perform prehospital rapid sequence induction (RSI) in patients attended by a UK Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) following head injury. Design A retrospective cohort study of patients attended by Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (KSSAAT) HEMS. Setting A mixed urban and rural area of 4.5million people in South East England. Participants GCS score of 13, 14 or 15 on arrival of the HEMS team and clinical findings suggesting head injury. Patients accompanied by the HEMS team to hospital (‘Escorted’), and those that were ‘Assisted’ but conveyed by the ambulance service were reviewed. No age restrictions to inclusion were set. Primary outcome measure Significant brain injury. Secondary outcome measure Recognition of patients requiring prehospital anaesthesia for head injury. Results Of 517 patients, 321 had adequate follow-up, 69% of these were Escorted, 31% Assisted. There was evidence of intracranial injury in 13.7% of patients and clinically important brain injury in 7.8%. There was no difference in the rate of clinically important brain injury between Escorted and Assisted patients (p=0.46). Nineteen patients required an RSI by the HEMS team and this patient group was significantly more likely to have clinically important brain injury (p=0.04). Conclusion In patients attended by a UK HEMS service with a head injury and a GCS of 13–15, a small but significant proportion had a clinically important brain injury and a proportion were appropriately recognised as requiring prehospital RSI. For patients deemed not to need a HEMS intervention, differentiating between those with and without clinically important brain injury appears challenging. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/2/e023307.long This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023307
    • A retrospective review of patients with significant traumatic brain injury transported by emergency medical services within the south east of England

      Barrett, Jack (2019-03)
      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be a leading cause of death and disability within the Western world by 2020. Currently, 80% of all TBI patients in England are transported to hospital by an ambulance service. The aim of this retrospective study is to compare TBI patients transported to a major trauma centre (MTC) against those transported to a trauma unit (TU). Abstract published with permission.