The relationship between total prehospital time and outcome in hypotensive victims of penetrating injuries

Paul E. Pepe, Charles H. Wyatt, William H. Bickell, Mark L. Bailey, Kenneth L. Mattox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Most authorities in the field of trauma recommend that seriously injured patients be transported directly to a regional trauma center, even if it requires bypassing nearby community hospitals. The purpose of our study was to examine the relationship between the survival rates of patients with presumed hemorrhagic shock due to penetrating injuries and the total prehospital time required to manage and deliver those patients to a single regional trauma center in a large urban area. During a 30-month-period, 498 consecutive victims of penetrating injury, presenting in the field with a systolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or less and transported to a single regional trauma center, were prospectively evaluated in terms of age; initial prehospital trauma score; injury severity score (ISS); TRISS probability of survival; response, scene, transport, and total prehospital times; and survival (discharge from hospital). All patients were managed and transported by a single urban paramedic service that has a fairly uniform response time (5.3 ± 3 min) throughout its entire service area. The response area is spread out over an approximately 1,000 square-mile region, and transport times to the regional trauma center can exceed a half hour. The total prehospital time (TPT) was calculated as the time elapsed from the receipt of the emergency call to the time of arrival at the regional trauma center. Patients arbitrarily were categorized into four subsets according to the initial prehospital trauma score (1, 2 to 6, 7 to 11, 12 to 15). Patients also were analyzed in terms of four incremental groups of increasing TPT (0-20, 21-30, 31-40, > 40 min). All but two of the 498 patients were delivered to the regional trauma center within one hour after receipt of the emergency call. While mortality correlated, as expected, with a lower TS, the outcome was not adversely affected by increased prehospital times in any of the TS subsets. The results indicate that, even in a geographically large urban EMS system, the time factor involved in managing and transporting hypotensive penetrating injury victims directly to a regional trauma center does not appear to be related to an adverse outcome, at least during the first hour after injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987


  • hypotension
  • injury
  • outcome
  • penetrating
  • prehospital time
  • transportvprehospital time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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