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On-Scene Intravenous Line Insertion Adversely Impacts Prehospital Time in Rural Vehicular Trauma

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Fatality rates from rural vehicular trauma are almost double those found in urban settings. Increased emergency medical services (EMS) prehospital time has been implicated as one of the causative factors for higher rural fatality rates. Advanced Trauma Life Support guidelines suggest scene time should not be extended to insert an intravenous catheter (IV). The purpose of this study was to assess the association between intravenous line placement and motor vehicle crash (MVC) scene time in rural and urban settings. An imputational methodology using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System permitted linkage of data from police motor vehicle crash and EMS records. Intergraph GeoMedia software permitted this linked data to be plotted on digital maps for segregation into rural and urban groups. MVCs were defined as rural or urban by location of the accident using the U.S. Bureau of Census Criteria. Linked data were analyzed to assess for EMS time on-scene, on-scene IV insertion, on-scene IV insertion attempts, and patient mortality. Over a 2-year period from January 2001 through December 2002, data were collected from Alabama EMS patient care reports (PCRs) and police crash reports. A total of 45,763 police crash reports were linked to EMS PCRs. Of these linked crash records, 34,341 (75%) and 11,422 (25%) were injured in rural and urban settings, respectively. Six hundred eleven (1.78%) mortalities occurred in rural settings and 103 (0.90%) in urban settings (P < 0.005). There were 6,273 (18.3%) on-scene IV insertions in the rural setting and 1,290 (11.3%) in the urban setting (P < 0.005). Mean EMS time on-scene when single IV insertion attempts occurred was 16.9 minutes in the rural setting and 14.5 minutes in the urban setting (P < 0.0001). When two attempts of on-scene IV insertion were made, mean EMS time on-scene in the rural setting (n = 891 [2.6%]) was 18.4 minutes and 15.7 minutes in the urban setting (n = 142 [1.2%; P < 0.005). Excluding dead on-scene patients, mean EMS time on-scene when mortalities occurred in rural and urban settings was 18.9 minutes and 10.8 minutes, respectively (P < 0.005). On-scene IV insertion occurred with significantly greater frequency in rural than urban settings. This incurs greater EMS time on-scene and prehospital time that may be associated with increased vehicular fatality rates in rural settings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Departments of Surgery, Center for the Study of Rural Vehicular Trauma, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington, DC 2: From the Departments of Surgery 3: Statistics and Mathematics, and

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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