Life support for trauma and transport: A mobile ICU for safe in-hospital transport of critically injured patients

George C. Velmahos, Demetrios Demetriades, Mariano Ghilardi, Peter Rhee, Patrizio Petrone, Linda S. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background In-hospital transport of newly injured patients is complicated by inadequate monitoring and adverse events. LSTAT (Life Support for Trauma and Transport, Integrated Medical Systems Inc) is a platform with multiple integrated systems (ventilator, defibrillator, suction, hemodynamic monitors, infusion and invasive monitoring channels, capnography, blood analysis, and electrocardiography) that allow seamless monitoring and effective life-saving interventions during transport. The platform functions as a mobile ICU and has preliminarily been tested with success in combat settings. This is the first evaluation of LSTAT in the civilian transport arena. Study design Major trauma patients requiring trauma team activation, who were transported from the Emergency Department through different hospital departments (usually CT or angiography) to the ICU or operating room were included prospectively (December 2002 through April 2003). Patients were monitored and transported either by conventional means (conventional group) or by LSTAT (LSTAT group). Primary outcomes related to resource consumption and process of care; secondary outcomes related to clinical events. A questionnaire was completed by the surgeons participating in transports to document perceptions and preferences about means of in-hospital transport. Results Of 178 patients enrolled, 85 (48%) were in the LSTAT and 93 (52%) in the conventional groups. The two groups were similar except for age and mechanism of injury. Time of hand-bagging, preparation for transport, and return of blood results was significantly shorter in the LSTAT than in the conventional group (p < 0.001 for all). Significantly fewer LSTAT than conventional transports required more than one escorting physician (p < 0.001). Significantly more surveyed surgeons preferred LSTAT to conventional methods to transfer patients. There were no differences in adverse events, hospital stay, or mortality between the two groups. Conclusions LSTAT emerges as a safe and convenient method of in-hospital transport. It allows uninterrupted monitoring, immediate response to physiologic changes, and reduction in human resource consumption. Process of care is improved. LSTAT's potential to improve clinical outcomes needs to be tested in different environments, including the prehospital setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • ED
  • Life Support for Trauma and Transport
  • OR
  • emergency department
  • operating room

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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