Research notes timely prehospital blood and plasma transfusion results in better patient outcomes

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, October 23, 2019) – Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today that its ARCH Air Medical base in Granite City, along with many other ARCH and Air Methods helicopter programs, now carry blood and plasma on every mission. Celebrating 40 years as the St. Louis region’s original air medical service, this new capability continues ARCH’s decades of focus on excellence in patient care, seen in deployment of these lifesaving products.

Air Methods has continuously strived to increase the quantity of aircraft nationwide that carry blood or plasma onboard given advantages for patients affected by traumatic injuries or other conditions that require transfusions

Carrying blood and plasma during air medical missions can be a significant contributing factor in optimal patient outcomes. For instance, patients suffering significant blood loss are at risk for hemorrhagic shock which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death. 

According to a New England Journal of Medicine study, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport to patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock was deemed safe by medical researchers and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation.

“Flying with blood and plasma onboard our aircraft is the equivalent of carrying a better chance of survival,” said Paul M. Ross, Jr., ARCH Air Medical regional account executive. “The ability to provide patients with potentially better outcomes is another great milestone for our team, particularly for individuals in rural areas facing long ground transport following a traumatic situation. Administration of blood combined with rapid air transport can truly help these patients who otherwise may not survive.”

Leading in Emergency Medical Care and Safety
Adding blood and plasma to ARCH helicopters and the rest of the Air Methods’ non-hospital fleet is only one of several ways the air medical provider continues to enhance safety and empower improved patient outcomes. For example, Air Methods’ patient-centered culture is represented by our dedication to technical standards and training, which leads the air medical industry. Air Methods’ registered nurses or paramedic-level trained clinicians are required to have practiced at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting. Clinicians must additionally obtain 100 hours of continuing education every year following Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) standards. Also, every Air Methods mission is reviewed, in part, to identify training or education opportunities. Approximately 30 cases each month undergo an in-depth quality review by clinical quality, education, compliance and risk teams to assure patient safety and best practices for continued success.

Air Methods is investing $100 million over 10 years to ensure that the company’s 1,300 pilots are prepared for the most challenging safety scenarios. Pilots fly the world’s largest civilian fleet of helicopters, which are custom designed and supplied to include clot-busting medications for stroke, monitoring devices, intra-aortic balloon pump in addition to the drug lines, transfer vents and other equipment to ensure a safe and effective transfer to hospital. Helicopters are also fully-equipped with safety features such as night vision goggles (NVGs), XM satellite weather and tracking systems, GPS and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems. 

With blood and plasma on every needed mission, ARCH 1 and the rest of the Air Methods’ aircraft are truly serving as intensive care units in the sky.


About Air Methods
Air Methods 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, for Air Methods
(404) 408-3379