Thoracic and abdominal injuries in skiers: The role of air evacuation

Gregory J. Jurkovich*, William H. Pearce, Henry C. Cleveland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The increasing popularity of skiing as a recreational sport has resulted in a greater number of major thoracic and abdominal injuries. These injuries, unlike the more common orthopedic injuries, are often life threatening. This 8- year study reviews 44 thoracic and abdominal ski injuries managed at an urban trauma center since the inception of a helicopter air evacuation program with in-flight resuscitation capabilities. Twenty-five per cent of the injured had signs of hemorrhagic shock, and nearly 60% required a major operation. The injuries were caused by high-speed collisions with stationary objects or other skiers and by falls. Three were penetrating injuries. Organs injured were: heart, lung, kidney, spleen, liver, rectum and abdominal wall, and more than half were multiple injuries. Almost half had associated orthopedic trauma. Resuscitation was initiated on helicopter arrival in these seriously injured patients (78% of helicopter-transported patients came to operation), and apparently contributed to the low mortality of 4.5%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-848
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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