Analysis of prehospital ALS cases in a rural community.

S. C. Hu, W. F. Kao, J. Tsai, C. H. Chern, D. Yen, H. C. Lo, C. H. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system containing the advanced life support (ALS) and manned with paramedics, is developing in many countries in view of the importance of prehospital ALS skills on ALS eligible patients, although previous studies have only revealed that a meager need for ALS in urban community. The purpose of this study is to understand the real demand of ALS in a rural community, so that a well organized and cost-effective EMS system can be developed in this country. METHODS: An EMS system with a single tiered response configuration, using firefighters to give basic prehospital care, stored in computer with some necessary informations was established in Ilan County. Cases with ALS from January 1993 through December 1994 were retrieved from the computer. The ones truely eligible for ALS were reconfirmed and analized in terms of neurological outcome while discharging from hospital, sex, age, response time, time spent on scene, transportation time, as well as whether the cases were trauma or medically induced. RESULTS: Of 11352 cases collected during 731 study days, 594(5.28%) ALS eligible cases (including 211 DOA and 383 nonDOA) were studied. Of 211 DOA, 103(48%) were caused by trauma. The response time, time spent on scene and transportation time in ALS and DOA cases were 5.5min., 4.7min., 13.6min., and 5.6min., 5.6min., and 15.7min., respectively. Of 211 cases of trauma (55% of total ALS cases), traffic accident accounted for 46%. Altered mental status and chest pain or tightness made of 90% of medical induced ALS cases. Five percent of patients felt worsening of condition during transit. One third of patients seemed to experience a bad outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the characteristics of low demand for ALS services, more than half trauma-induced ALS cases, acceptable response time, short transportation time, extremely few medically-induced DOA cases, and quite a poor outcome in the setting of limited prehospital care, a unique EMS system different from that in the United States or in the urban area is needed in the rural area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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