What is the impact of physicians in prehospital treatment for patients in need of acute critical care? - An overview of reviews

Gitte Valentin; Lotte Groth Jensen

Objectives: 

The aim of this overview was to systematically identify and synthesize existing evidence from systematic reviews on the impact of prehospital physician involvement. 

Methods:

The Medline, Embase, and Cochrane library were searched from 1 January 2000 to 17 November 2017. We included systematic reviews comparing physician-based with non-physician-based prehospital treatment in patients with one of five critical conditions requiring a rapid response.

Results:

Ten reviews published from 2009 to 2017 were included. Physician treatment was associated with increased survival in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and patients with severe trauma; in the latter group, the result was based on more limited evidence. The success rate of prehospital endotracheal intubation (ETI) has improved over the years, but ETI by physicians is still associated with higher success rates than intubation by paramedics. In patients with severe traumatic brain injury, intubation by paramedics who were not well skilled to do so markedly increased mortality. 

Conclusions:

Current evidence is hinting at a benefit of physicians in selected aspects of prehospital emergency services, including treatment of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and critically ill or injured patients in need of prehospital intubation. Evidence is, however, limited by confounding and bias, and comparison is hampered by differences in case mix and the organization of emergency medical services. Future research should strive to design studies that enable appropriate control of baseline confounding and obtain follow-up data for the proportion of patients who die in the prehospital setting.

Udgivelsesform Videnskabelige artikler
År 2019
Udgiver International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care