Research Article| Volume 220, ISSUE 2, P464-467, August 2020

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Helicopter transport in pediatric trauma: A new methodology using Need for Surgeon Presence to evaluate the necessity of air transport

Published:November 29, 2019DOI:


      • Evaluation of over/undertriage in pediatric patients transported by helicopter remains ill-defined.
      • NSP may augment the ISS/Cribari System in assessing triage accuracy in pediatric trauma patients transported by helicopter.
      • NSP, in addition to ISS, may lead to better resource utilization as it relates to helicopter transport.



      When to transport pediatric trauma patients directly from scene to a trauma center via helicopter (HT) has been a long debated topic. This study proposes Need for Surgeon Presence (NSP) matrix as an alternative method to assess appropriate utilization of HT of pediatric trauma patients directly from the scene of injury.


      We utilized the 2016 TQIP database. NSP was defined as having one or more of the following: intubation, transfusion, operation for hemorrhage control/craniotomy, vasopressors, interventional radiology, spinal cord injury, tube thoracostomy, emergency thoracotomy, intracranial pressure monitor, or pericardiocentesis. The outcome of interest was the presence or absence of a NSP indicator.


      The NSP + patients had a: longer LOS, GCS<14, positive SIPA index value, went to OR/ICU from the ED, and had penetrating injury. Among patient with an ISS≥16, mortality for those also NSP+ was 18.8% versus 1.4% among the NSP-.


      The disparity between NSP and traditional ISS thresholds supports NSP as an additional metric to validate pre-hospital triage criteria and may be a better indicator of overall hospital resource utilization.


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