Shock index as a predictor for short-term mortality in helicopter emergency medical services: A registry study

Johannes Björkman, Lasse Raatiniemi, Piritta Setälä, Jouni Nurmi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Background: The value of shock-index has been demonstrated in hospital triage, but few studies have evaluated its prehospital use. The aim of our study was to evaluate the association between shock-index in prehospital critical care and short-term mortality. Methods: We analyzed data from the national helicopter emergency medical services database and the Population Register Centre. The shock-index was calculated from the patients' first measured parameters. The primary outcome measure was 1- and 30-day mortality. Results: A total of 22 433 patients were included. The 1-day mortality was 7.5% and 30-day mortality was 16%. The median shock-index was 0.68 (0.55/0.84) for survivors and 0.67 (0.49/0.93) for non-survivors (P =.316) at 30-days. Association between shock-index and mortality followed a U-shaped curve in trauma (shock-index < 0.5: odds ratio 2.5 [95% confidence interval 1.8-3.4], shock-index > 1.3: odds ratio 4.4 [2.7-7.2] at 30 days). Patients with neurological emergencies with a low shock-index had an increased risk of mortality (shock-index < 0.5: odds ratio 1.8 [1.5-2.3]) whereas patients treated after successful resuscitation from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, a higher shock-index was associated with higher mortality (shock-index > 1.3: odds ratio 3.5 [2.3-5.4). The association was similar for all ages, but older patients had higher mortality in each shock-index category. Conclusion: The shock-index is associated with short time mortality in most critical patient categories in the prehospital setting. However, the marked overlap of shock-index in survivors and non-survivors in all patient categories limits its predictive value.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)816-823
    Number of pages8
    JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • air ambulances
    • emergency medical services
    • mortality
    • shock

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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