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20 October 2015 : Original article  

The Role of Medical Air Rescue Services in Medical Transport of Organ Recipients in Poland: Organizational Solutions Supporting Transplantation Medicine

Robert GałązkowskiACDEG, Agata PawlakBC, Daniel RabczenkoCE, Grzegorz MichalakDF, Michał M. FarkowskiDF, Roman DanielewiczDF, Maciej SterlińskiCDEF

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.895321

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:627-633


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to analyze the use of fixed-wing air ambulance (FWAA) services in Poland during the period 2012–2013, with particular emphasis on air transport of organ recipients to transplantation centers.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of data derived from standard FWAA medical documentation.

RESULTS: In the years 2012–2013 there were 500 emergency (52.7%) and 447 elective (47.3%) missions. Children who were 1–10 years old comprised the single largest group in both emergency (EM) and elective (EL) missions, accounting for 17% of all flights. EM transports carried mainly patients aged 49–59 (18.5%), and 35.1% of all EM transports concerned patients with end-stage renal disease qualified as organ recipients who were transported to transplantation centers. With a total of 2278 kidney transplantations performed in Poland within the period analyzed, up to 7.8% recipients were transported by air medical services. For EL flights, the most numerous group were patients aged 1–10 (25.4%) and this group comprised mainly patients with congenital disorders (17.9%) and cardiovascular diseases (15.8%). The average flight duration was similar for both EM and EL groups (41.7±10.5 min vs. 40.4±8.7 min, respectively) (p=NS), as was the average distance covered (321.8±99.4 km vs. 310.5±87.4 km, respectively) (p=NS). In the case of patients with end-stage renal disease, the average distance and flight time were significantly longer than those for all other groups in total: 382.5±96.4 km vs. 302.6±87.3 km (p<0.001) and 74.9±10.2 min vs. 39.7±8.8 min (p<0.001), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The most frequent clinical indication for FWAA transport was end-stage renal disease and most of those flights were carried out as EM. The FWAA service plays a vital role in the organization of pre-transplantation transport to referral centers in Poland. This analysis supports the data for evaluation and potential changes in the Polish distribution and allocation rules for kidney transplantation.

Keywords: Aircraft, Kidney, Transplantation

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358