Vol 78, No 4 (2020)
Original article
Published online: 2020-02-14

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Characteristics of urban versus rural utilization of the Polish Helicopter Emergency Medical Service in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction

Stanisław Paweł Świeżewski, Arkadiusz Wejnarski, Piotr Konrad Leszczyński, Anna Wojak, Adam Fronczak, Tomasz Darocha, Robert Gałązkowski, Grzegorz Opolski, Patryk Rzońca
Pubmed: 32063599
Kardiol Pol 2020;78(4):284-291.


Background: In patients with acute phase of ST‑segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), quick transportation to a specialist therapeutic center is of utmost importance to increase the chances of surviving.

Aims: The objective of this study was to characterize the missions of the Polish Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) to patients with STEMI in urban and rural areas and to assess the utilization of air ambulance support as part of an early stage of the therapeutic process.

Methods: This retrospective analysis included 6099 patients with STEMI treated by the Polish HEMS crews from January 2011 to December 2018.

Results: The study group included mainly men (68.9%) and persons aged 60 to 79 years (53.9%). The mean (SD) age of the entire group was 64.8 (11.9) years. The level of consciousness measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale score ranged from 13 to 15 (84.8% of patients), the mean (SD) Revised Trauma Score was 11.4 (1.9) points, and the mean (SD) number of points on the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics scale was 4 (1). In rural areas, the Polish HEMS crews were more frequently dispatched to medical emergencies (99.3% vs 59.6%). Sudden cardiac arrest occurred more often in those areas (6% vs 3.8%), which resulted in the death of the patient (2.4% vs 0.4%; P < 0.05 for both).

Conclusions: There were differences in utilization of the Polish HEMS in patients with STEMI in urban and rural areas. The results demonstrated a positive impact of the utilization of HEMS in the early stages of the therapeutic process of these patients.

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Polish Heart Journal (Kardiologia Polska)