Efficacy of the presence of an emergency physician in prehospital major trauma care: A nationwide cohort study in Japan

Published:November 09, 2018DOI:



      The beneficial effect of the presence of an emergency physician in prehospital major trauma care is controversial. The aim in this study is to assess whether an emergency physician on scene can improve survival outcome of critical trauma patients.


      This retrospective cohort study was conducted by using nationwide trauma registry data between 2004 and 2013 in Japan. Severe trauma patients (injury severity score (ISS) ≥ 16) who were transported directly to the hospital from the injury site were included in our analysis. Patients who were predicted to be untreatable (abbreviated injury score (AIS) = 6 and/or cardiopulmonary arrest at least one time before hospital arrival) were excluded. Participants were divided into either a physician or paramedics group based on the prehospital practitioner. The primary outcome was survival rate at discharge. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to compare the outcome with adjustment for age, gender, ISS, cause of injury, and pre-hospital vital signs.


      A total of 30,283 patients were eligible for the selection criteria (physician: 1222, paramedics: 29,061). Overall, 172 patients (14.1%) died in the physician group compared to 3508 patients (12.1%) in the paramedics group. Patients in the physician group had higher ISSs than those in the paramedics group. In multivariable logistic regression, the physician group had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.16 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.97 to 1.40, p = 0.11) for in-hospital survival.


      Our results failed to show a difference in survival at discharge between non-physician-staffed ambulances and physician-staffed ambulances.


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