Aeromedical Transport in Children: A Descriptive Analysis of 96 Cases

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Abstract

Objective

Pediatric aeromedical transport (AT) is highly challenging. We aim to describe a series of 96 cases of children requiring medical transport in terms of the indication, modalities, and related adverse events.

Methods

In this single-center retrospective study, we included air-transported patients less than 18 years old.

Results

During the study period, 96 patients, with median age of 120 months (range, 0–204), were air transported. The reason for AT was repatriation to the home country from another hospital in 65 (67.7%), whereas for 31 (32.3%) patients, it was for transport from a hospital to another for a special procedure. The main diagnosis was trauma surgery (n = 38; 39.5%). Fifteen (15.6%) patients were mechanically ventilated. No patient sustained serious adverse events during the flight. Patients were transported by an air ambulance or by a scheduled aircraft in 55.2% and 44.8%, respectively. The median flight distance was 822 km (range, 277–9878), and most of the ATs were intra-European (n = 41; 42.7%).

Conclusion

This study describes an international experience in providing AT services for pediatric clinical cases. Among pediatric patients, the younger ones constitute a specific population, and most of them require mechanical ventilation. Therefore, the transport of these patients seems to be more appropriate in a dedicated air ambulance.

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