Patient Presentations and Medical Logistics at Full and Half Ironman Distance Triathlons

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We describe logistical challenges, illness/injury rates, as well as medical and ambulance transfer rates (ATR) at an annual large-scale half/full triathlon in a remote location. Prospective observational study; registry data. Data on patient presentation rates, percentage of patients transferred by ambulance, transfer to hospital rates (TTHR), ATR, and medical usage rates were collected and analyzed. In total, 1923 athletes participated in the 2016 triathlon (1404 in the full-length race and 519 in the half) and 181 patient encounters were documented. The patient presentation rate (PPR) was 94 in 1000 patients, and 1.6% of patients seen onsite required offsite medical care. TTHR and ATR were 1.6 in 1000 and 0.5 in 1000, respectively. Gastrointestinal issues were the most common presentation (50/181; 27.6%), followed by musculoskeletal injury (46/181; 25.4%) and nonspecific dizziness (37/181; 20.4%). The incorporation of a coordinated event medical plan and team, with integrated on-course and at-finish coverage, may have minimized presentations of patients to local health care services; therefore, decreasing the effect on the local ambulance service and health infrastructure of the host community.

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