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Use of ShotSpotter detection technology decreases prehospital time for patients sustaining gunshot wounds

Goldenberg, Anna DO; Rattigan, Deviney MD; Dalton, Michael MD; Gaughan, John P. PhD; Thomson, J. Scott MA; Remick, Kyle MD; Butts, Christopher DO; Hazelton, Joshua P. DO

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: December 2019 - Volume 87 - Issue 6 - p 1253–1259
doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000002483

BACKGROUND Shorter prehospital time in patients sustaining penetrating trauma has been shown to be associated with improved survival. Literature has also demonstrated that police transport (vs. Emergency Medical Services [EMS]) shortens transport times to a trauma center. The purpose of this study was to determine if ShotSpotter, which triangulates the location of gunshots and alerts police, expedited dispatch and transport of injured victims to the trauma center.

METHODS All shootings which occurred in Camden, NJ, from 2010 to 2018 were reviewed. Demographic, geographic, response time, transport time, and field intervention data were collected from medical and police records. We compared shootings where the ShotSpotter was activated versus shootings where ShotSpotter was not activated. Incidents, which did not occur in Camden or where complete data were not available, were excluded as were patients not transported by police or EMS.

RESULTS There were 627 shootings during the study period which met inclusion criteria with 190 (30%) activating the ShotSpotter system. Victims involved in shootings with ShotSpotter activation were more severely injured, more likely to be transported by police, less likely to undergo trauma bay resuscitative measures, and more likely to receive blood products. Mortality, when adjusted for distance, Trauma, and Injury Severity Score, Injury Severity Score, and shock index, was not significantly different between ShotSpotter and non-ShotSpotter incidents. ShotSpotter activation significantly reduced both the response time as well as transport time for both police and EMS (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION The activation of the ShotSpotter technology increased the likelihood of police transport of gunshot victims. Furthermore, the use of this technology resulted in shorter response times as well as transport times for both police and EMS. This technology may be beneficial in enhancing the care of victims of penetrating trauma.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic/Care management, level III.

From the Division of Trauma, Department of Surgery (A.G.), Department of Surgery (D.R.), Cooper University Hospital, Camden; Department of Surgery (M.D.), St. Barnabas Hospital, Livingston; Department of Medicine (J.P.G.), Cooper University Hospital; Camden County Police Department (J.S.T.); Division of Trauma, Department of Surgery (K.R.), Cooper University Hospital, Camden; Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery (C.B.), Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Division of Trauma, Department of Surgery (J.P.H.), Acute Care and Critical Care Surgery, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Submitted: August 15, 2018, Revised: July 1, 2019, Accepted: July 17, 2019. Published online: August 14, 2019.

This work was presented at the podium at the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, September 26-29, 2018 in San Diego, CA.

Address for reprints: Anna Goldenberg, DO, 1 Cooper Plaza Camden, Suite 411, Camden, NJ 08103; email:

Online date: August 16, 2019

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.