Treatment of pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury by Dutch Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS)

Michelle Oude Alink*, Xavier Moors, Pim de Bree, Robert Jan Houmes, Dennis den Hartog, Robert Jan Stolker

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Sparse data are available on prehospital care by Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study focusses on prehospital interventions, neurosurgical interventions and mortality in this group. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of pediatric (0-18 years of age) patients with TBI treated by Rotterdam HEMS. RESULTS: From January 2012 to December 2017 415 pediatric (<18 years of age) patients with TBI were included. Intubation was required in in 92 of 111 patients with GCS ≤ 8, 92 (82.9%), compared to 12 of 77 (15.6%) with GCS 9-12, and 7 of 199 (3.5%) with GCS 13-15. Hyperosmolar therapy (HSS) was started in 73 patients, 10 with a GCS ≤8. Decompressive surgery was required in 16 (5.8%), nine patients (56.3%) of these received HSS from HEMS. Follow-up data was available in 277 patients. A total of 107 (38.6%) patients were admitted to a (P)ICU. Overall mortality rate was 6.3%(n = 25) all with GCS ≤8, 15 (60.0%) died within 24 hours and 24 (96.0%) within a week. Patients with neurosurgical interventions (N = 16) showed a higher mortality rate (18.0%). CONCLUSIONS: The Dutch HEMS provides essential emergency care for pediatric TBI patients, by performing medical procedures outside of regular EMS protocol. Mortality was highest in patients with severe TBI (n = 111) (GCS≤8) and in those who required neurosurgical interventions. Despite a relatively good initial GCS (>8) score, there were patients who required prehospital intubation and HSS. This group will require further investigation to optimize care in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0277528
Pages (from-to)e0277528
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2022

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Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2022 Oude Alink et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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