Does helicopter emergency medical service transfer offer benefit to patients with stroke?

Michael D. Olson, Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE-: Helicopter transportation of patients with acute stroke who have received recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator is commonly considered the best option. We evaluated if transportation by helicopter can reduce complications and improve clinical outcomes in patients with acute stroke. METHODS-: We conducted a review of consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke transferred to our hospital after intravenous thrombolysis initiated at a referral center. RESULTS-: A total of 122 patient transportations were analyzed, 94 by air and 28 by ground. Time from activation of the transport system to arrival at our hospital was significantly shorter with air transportation (53 versus 68 minutes, P=0.04). Two complications were noted in the air group and no complications were noted in the ground group (P=1.0). All other outcome measures were not significantly different between groups. CONCLUSIONS-: Air transfer of patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with thrombolysis does not seem to impart any benefit to patient outcomes when compared with ground transport. Therefore, ground transport should be considered for these patients unless they are being considered for emergency endovascular rescue therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-880
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • acute stroke
  • emergency medical services
  • stroke care
  • tPA
  • thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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