A 10-year retrospective study of interhospital patient transport using inhaled nitric oxide in Norway

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Anaesthesiologists from Oslo University Hospital have transported patients with severe oxygenation failure with inhaled nitric oxide (usually 20 ppm) from other hospitals to a tertiary care centre since 2002 in an effort to reduce the number of patients that otherwise would require transport with ongoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the patient safety during transport with inhaled nitric oxide.


All patient transports with ongoing nitric oxide treatment undertaken from 2003 to 2012 were identified in the transport database. The frequency of adverse events and their impact on patient safety were studied in addition to response to inhaled nitric oxide and adjusted intensive care treatment and time aspects of the transports. Information about in-hospital treatment and survival were extracted from the hospital patient records.


Adverse events were recorded in 12 of the 104 transports. Seven of the adverse events were due to malfunctioning technical equipment, three were related to medication other than the inhaled nitric oxide and two were related to ventilation. No adverse events resulted in permanent negative patient consequences or in discontinuation of the transport. Out of 104 patients, 79 responded to treatment with inhaled nitric oxide and other treatment changes by an increase in oxygen saturation of more than 5%. The 30-day mortality was 27% in the group transported with inhaled nitric oxide.


Transporting patients on inhaled nitric oxide is an alternative in selected patients who would otherwise require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation during transport.

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