Press Releases

Air Methods’ Care Process Published in Leading Trauma Care Textbook

Jan 17, 2019

HEAVEN Criteria is a life-saving airway management prediction tool to be studied and adopted by clinicians worldwide

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. January 17, 2019 – Air Methods, a global leader in emergency air medical services, announced today that a life-saving trauma-care prediction tool developed by its clinicians has been published in the textbook for the world’s leading emergency medicine continuing education (CE) program. The HEAVEN Criteria is now established as the gold standard process for airway management and will save lives in prehospital emergency settings.

HEAVEN, which stands for Hypoxemia, Extremes of size, Anatomic abnormalities, Vomit/blood/fluid, Exsanguination, Neck mobility, was developed by Air Methods’ clinical education manager David Olvera, NRP, FP-C, CMTE, and medical director Daniel Davis, M.D. The criteria serve as a quick and easily understood checklist for emergency clinicians to help them predict a complex tracheal intubation, a procedure which involves inserting a flexible tube into a throat to open the airway. 

The HEAVEN Criteria has been published in Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)(9th Edition), a textbook for the CE program from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians in conjunction with the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. PHTLS is taught in 64 countries and CE credits are earned by EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physician assistants, physicians, and other prehospital providers.

“Since adopting this analytic tool we have dramatically reduced our incidences of unsuccessful intubations, second-attempt intubations, and seen a dramatic increase in patient oxygenation which all lead to shorter hospital stays, better outcomes and dramatically lower mortality rates,” said Mike Allen, Air Methods’ president and chief operating officer. “Being included in the latest edition of the PHTLS textbook, which is the reference guide to all prehospital trauma care in the western world, is an amazing validation of our team’s professional standards and a clear indication of the respect they have earned across this discipline of medicine.”

Worldwide Recognition
Since the introduction of the HEAVEN Criteria in 2015, Air Methods’ clinicians have charted a first-attempt tracheal intubation success rate of greater than 90 percent, which is higher than in many hospital settings. Olvera also recently presented the HEAVEN Criteria at the World Airway Management Meeting, a prestigious medical conference normally reserved to anesthesiologists.

“It is a tremendous personal honor to have the result of our research and countless hours of evaluation and training featured in the leading textbook for practicing emergency medicine clinicians,” said Olvera. “As a clinician, it is also professionally gratifying to have the support of a company that dedicates such resources to developing effective, evidence-based techniques that advance the quality and safety of our care and, most importantly, help save lives.”

Protecting Patients and Supporting Clinicians
The HEAVEN Criteria is part of a greater Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI) checklist that was created by Olvera and is part of Air Methods’ continued quality improvement process. The inspiration behind the checklist came from Olvera’s personal life when his wife, who was working 80 hours a week as a restaurant manager, accidentally took the wrong medication. Olvera realized that, even with his wife being a diabetic for 28 years, human factors came into play and she made a mistake in drawing up her medication. These mistakes can be attributed to exhaustion, hunger or distraction, all of which can occur when clinicians respond to emergency medical calls. This led to Olvera conducting extensive research and formulating new checklists and criteria. 

Olvera and Dr. Davis conducted research using Air Methods’ internal database of thousands of procedures and statistics to design the HEAVEN Criteria and through intense analysis to validate each point. The criteria was later approved by the Air Methods Institutional Review Board and published in an Air Medical Journal article co-authored with Dr. Davis.

“The HEAVEN Criteria has been an enormously helpful decision support tool for our clinicians in predicting a difficult airway and successfully intubating patients,” said Dr. Davis. “We are thrilled that the thousands of emergency clinicians participating in the PHTLS program worldwide will now learn from our research and experience and apply this life-saving best practice when responding to emergency medical situations.”


About Air Methods
Air Methods (www.airmethods.com) is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

Media Contact:
Megan Smith
Amendola Communications
(404) 408-3379
mhsmith@acmarketingpr.com

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