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Background : Despite many studies addressing potential impact of helicopter transport on trauma mortality, debate as to the efficacy of air transport continues.

Methods : This retrospective study combined trauma registry data from five urban Level I adult and pediatric centers. Logistic regression assessed effect of helicopter transport on mortality while adjusting for age, sex, transport year, receiving hospital, prehospital level of care (Advanced Life Support vs. Basic Life Support), ISS, and mission type (scene vs. interfacility).

Results : The study database comprised 16,699 patients. Crude mortality for Air (9.4%) was 3.4 times (95% CI, 2.9-4.0, p < 0.001) that of Ground (3.0%) patients. In adjusted analysis, helicopter transport was found to be associated with a significant mortality reduction (odds ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59-0.98;p = 0.031).

Conclusion : The results of this study are consistent with an association between helicopter transport mode and increased survival in blunt trauma patients.

(C) 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.