Open Access Research article

Prehospital score for acute disease: a community-based observational study in Japan

Yasuhiro Toyoda1, Yoshio Matsuo23, Hiroyuki Tanaka3, Hidekazu Fujiwara4, Toshio Takatorige1 and Hiroyasu Iso1*

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health, Department of Social and Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

2 Emergency Division, Kishiwada Tokushukai Hospital, Kishiwada, Japan

3 Emergency Division, Kishiwada City Hospital, Kishiwada, Japan

4 Kishiwada City Fire Department, Kishiwada, Japan

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BMC Emergency Medicine 2007, 7:17  doi:10.1186/1471-227X-7-17

Published: 15 October 2007



Ambulance usage in Japan has increased consistently because it is free under the national health insurance system. The introduction of refusal for ambulance transfer is being debated nationally. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between prehospital data and hospitalization outcome for acute disease patients, and to develop a simple prehospital evaluation tool using prehospital data for Japan's emergency medical service system.


The subjects were 9,160 consecutive acute disease patients aged ≥ 15 years who were transferred to hospital by Kishiwada City Fire Department ambulance between July 2004 and March 2006. The relationship between prehospital data (age, systolic blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, level of consciousness, SpO2 level and ability to walk) and outcome (hospitalization or non-hospitalization) was analyzed using logistic regression models. The prehospital score component of each item of prehospital data was determined by beta coefficients. Eligible patients were scored retrospectively and the distribution of outcome was examined. For patients transported to the two main hospitals, outcome after hospitalization was also confirmed.


A total of 8,330 (91%) patients were retrospectively evaluated using a prehospital score with a maximum value of 14. The percentage of patients requiring hospitalization rose from 9% with score = 0 to 100% with score = 14. With a cut-off point score ≥ 2, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 97%, 16%, 39% and 89%, respectively. Among the 6,498 patients transported to the two main hospitals, there were no deaths at scores ≤ 1 and the proportion of non-hospitalization was over 90%. The proportion of deaths increased rapidly at scores ≥ 11.


The prehospital score could be a useful tool for deciding the refusal of ambulance transfer in Japan's emergency medical service system.