Training emergency medical services agencies to implement prehospital guidelines for traumatic brain injury doubled the survival rate for patients with severe head trauma, according to a study reported yesterday in JAMA Surgery. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study trained EMS agencies across Arizona to implement the guidelines and compared patient outcomes before and after implementation. Among other findings, the guidelines tripled survival for patients with severe TBI who needed a breathing tube inserted by EMS personnel, and were associated with an overall increase in survival to hospital admission. “This demonstrates the significance of conducting studies in real-world settings and brings a strong evidence base to the guidelines,” said Patrick Bellgowan, program director at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “It suggests we can systematically increase the chances of saving lives of thousands of people who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries.”

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