Helicopter emergency medical services: Their role in integrated trauma care

Salomon Zalstein, Peter A. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The role of helicopters in trauma management must be considered in the context of the provision of sophisticated, high-quality trauma care. The present review examines the evolution of systems of trauma care, the value of advanced life support (ALS), and the role of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in improving outcomes. Comparison is made of outcomes of patients managed by HEMS and road ambulances, and important aspects of HEMS including staffing and safety are discussed. There is a role for HEMS as part of a modern trauma system, in particular in bringing ALS skills and access to expert medical care to the rural accident scene or hospital at distances of up to 160 km. It is of greatest value when it is integrated into a well- organized ambulance service and emergency system with good triage and close medical supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-598
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambulance
  • Helicopter
  • Pre-hospital
  • Trauma

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