Association between Emergency Medical Service Agency Volume and Mortality in Trauma Patients

David S. Silver, Jason L. Sperry, Jamison Beiriger, Liling Lu, Francis X. Guyette, Stephen Wisniewski, Ernest E. Moore, Martin Schreiber, Bellal Joseph, Chad T. Wilson, Bryan Cotton, Daniel Ostermayer, Erin E. Fox, Brian G. Harbrecht, Mayur Patel, Joshua B. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of annual trauma patient volume on outcomes for emergency medical services (EMS) agencies. Background: Regionalization of trauma care saves lives. The underlying concept driving this is a volume-outcome relationship. EMS are the entry point to the trauma system, yet it is unknown if a volume-outcome relationship exists for EMS. Methods: A retrospective analysis of prospective cohort including 8 trauma centers and 20 EMS air medical and metropolitan ground transport agencies. Patients 18 to 90 years old with injury severity scores ≥9 transported from the scene were included. Patient and agency-level risk-adjusted regression determined the association between EMS agency trauma patient volume and early mortality. Results: A total of 33,511 were included with a median EMS agency volume of 374 patients annually (interquartile range: 90-580). Each 50-patient increase in EMS agency volume was associated with 5% decreased odds of 6-hour mortality (adjusted odds ratio=0.95; 95% CI: 0.92-0.99, P=0.03) and 3% decreased odds of 24-hour mortality (adjusted odds ratio=0.97; 95% CI: 0.95-0.99, P=0.04). Prespecified subgroup analysis showed EMS agency volume was associated with reduced odds of mortality for patients with prehospital shock, requiring prehospital airway placement, undergoing air medical transport, and those with traumatic brain injury. Agency-level analysis demonstrated that high-volume (>374 patients/year) EMS agencies had a significantly lower risk-standardized 6-hour mortality rate than low-volume (<374 patients/year) EMS agencies (1.9% vs 4.8%, P<0.01). Conclusions: A higher volume of trauma patients transported at the EMS agency level is associated with improved early mortality. Further investigation of this volume-outcome relationship is necessary to leverage quality improvement, benchmarking, and educational initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • ambulance
  • experience
  • injury
  • outcome
  • prehospital
  • trauma system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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