Purpose: To investigate the relationship between age and Advanced Life Support (ALS) utilization. Population: All patients from 1 January 1987 to 31 December 1988 transported by ALS ambulances within Lebanon County, a rural/urban county of 112,000. Methods: All runs resulting in patient treatment by ALS personnel were tallied at five-year age intervals and sub-grouped by trauma- and non-trauma-related calls. Utilization rates for each age group were obtained by dividing the calls by the population of each group. Correlation with age was tested by Spearman's rank correlation. Treatment rates for age groups were calculated for the six most frequent medical etiologies. To illustrate the effect of age distributions, age rates were applied to projected state and national population distributions. Results: There was a significant correlation with age for all transports (p<. 01; r=. 93) and for those not related to trauma (p<.01; r=.98). Correlation was not detected for trauma-related responses (p>.10; r=.19). Non-trauma-related case incidence varied among age groups, ranging from 1.1/1,000 for age five through nine years to 89/1,000 for age 80-84 years. Congestive heart failure, cardiac ischemia, syncope, myocardial infarction, and cardiac arrest evidenced increased incidence with age. Seizure did not. Older populations had a higher projected utilization of ALS services than did the younger age groups. Conclusion: Non-trauma ALS utilization is highly dependent on the age of the patient. Due to projected aging of the population and increased utilization of ALS by the elderly, projected utilization will increase at a rate faster than will the population. Ageirate data can be combined with population projections to estimate future need.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Emergency Medicine