Skip to main content

Environmental temperature stress on drugs in prehospital emergency medical service

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)



Drugs used in prehospital emergency medical service (EMS) in principle are subject to the same storage restrictions as hospital-based medications. The prehospital emergency environment however, often exceeds these storage recommendations. Main stress factors are sunlight, vibration and extreme temperature, which may lead to alteration in chemical and physical stability of stored pharmaceuticals, as well as microbiological contamination and concentration enhancement of pharmacological inserts. Methods:

The purpose of this study was to determine the environmental temperature stress upon drugs used in the prehospital EMS under real mission conditions within different types of rescue vehicles (rescue helicopter [HEMS], ambulance [AMB] and emergency physician transport vehicle [EPTV]) during a ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ monitoring period (2 months duration each/location: southern Germany). Results:

Recorded temperatures varied from −13.2°C to +50.6°C. The recommended maximum storage temperature (+25°C) was exceeded in all rescue vehicles (33–45% of total exposure time), whereas the recommended minimum storage temperature (0°C) only fell short in the EPTV (19% of total exposure time). The daily maximum temperature variations ranged from 19.0°C (winter) to 32.9°C (summer). Conclusions:

These results show that even in a moderate climatic zone, drugs used in prehospital EMS are significantly influenced by temperature stress; furthermore, these results recommend the usage of temperature-controlled drug boxes.

Keywords: ambulance; drugs; emergency medical service (EMS); environmental temperature stress; rescue helicopter; thermal loading

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Federal Armed Forces Medical Center Ulm, Ulm, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2003

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Partial Open Access Content
Partial Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more