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A Medical Pit Stop at the MotoGP of Austria

December 22, 2022

Canon Medical combines mobility, imaging and motorbikes in one place. How is this done? With Mobile Imaging Solutions that care for riders, staff, and visitors. In this case, a CT Rapid Response imaging solution was deployed at the MotoGP of Austria; let’s go for a ride!
In 1996, an association was founded to provide rapid and safe medical care and ensure racetrack safety at the former Austrian Circuit, the Österreichring. At the start, typical injuries and their optimal acute treatment at motorsport events were documented and emergency medical care was provided. To this day, Emergency Medical Service sports Austria (EMS) remains open to members from professional medical or paramedic groups who are also interested in motorsports. They all have one thing in common – they all show a high level of personal commitment, using their skills to ensure safety on the Red Bull Ring racetrack.
Canon Medical’s CT Rapid Response 2.0 solution was part of the on-site Medical Centre at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. VISIONS spoke with Prim. Dr. Robert Skursky about the experience.

Special requirements

Prim. Dr. Robert Skursky, Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Radiology at Murtal State Hospital and Radiologist at EMS, provides an insight into the work of the team, which is made up of 150 active members, about half of whom are medical professionals: ‘’The medical staff caring for injured motorsports enthusiasts are some of the most highly qualified in the business. Optimal pre-clinical injury care can usually only be provided by experienced emergency doctors because of the involvement of high-speed trauma and the associated injuries. The doctors working at EMS are predominantly emergency doctors with extensive experience in treating various injury patterns.’’
There is an on-site Medical Centre at the Red Bull Ring, which is staffed and supplied with the materials necessary depending on the type of event and how many spectators are expected. The two most well-known major events, Formula 1 and MotoGP, are attended by two surgeons, two anesthetists, and a radiologist, who can treat two seriously injured patients at the same time in an emergency. The Medical Centre also attends smaller events held at the Red Bull Ring. Between 500 and 600 patients are treated each year, from polytrauma to wrist injuries to wasp stings – the challenges are pretty diverse. Two additional treatment rooms also can be used to treat several patients with minor injuries at the same time. Prim. Dr. Skursky explains how the team’s work focuses on the racetrack itself, with injured drivers initially receiving first aid track-side, and then being transferred to the on-site trauma room where they are stabilized to the extent necessary to enable transport to the nearest hospital. ‘’In addition to medical care, we also focus our attention on specialized training and further education, because the requirements in motorsports are quite specific.’’

Skursky explains the process by which separate extrication teams, consisting of a doctor and five paramedics with specialist equipment, rescue drivers when they are unable to extricate themselves from crashed vehicles. The task of this team is to extricate the driver from the vehicle as gently as possible so as not to cause them any further injuries while they are being rescued. Once the driver has been successfully removed from the vehicle, they are handed over to the medical care team for further treatment. These teams must provide evidence of their training throughout the year and pass a practical exam before the event to prove their skills.

Medical equipment

The Medical Centre’s equipment is organized to suit each different event. For large events, additional equipment is provided so that seriously injured people can be cared for and to enable certain diagnostic procedures to be performed. The medical equipment ranges from invasive monitoring devices, and perfusor pumps to defibrillators and ventilators. Prim. Dr. Skursky is delighted to share that there is now an ultrasound machine on site for high imaging quality and that, for the first time at MotoGP 2020, a Canon CT Rapid Response solution was deployed, which brings many benefits to the riders and medical staff alike. He adds that this equipment means that staff can now treat casualties much quicker and can make quick decisions as to whether the patient can continue riding with their injuries or needs to go straight to the nearest hospital for further medical attention. He explains that initially, the Mobile Imaging Solution was purely an experiment because they didn’t know how often they would need it. However, it turned out that the solution was in constant use, diagnosing injuries to the skull, spine, hip, knee, hand, shoulder, and ankle. While conceding that it is true that demand increases with the possibility, Skursky argues that this isn’t a bad thing as it enables the team to provide even better diagnoses and accelerate the start of treatment. This is good for health, but also makes economic sense. ‘’Even in our setting,’’ the physician explains, “time is money – the faster a treatment decision can be made, the greater the cost-savings associated with the teams’ work.” Like in a hospital, a speedy diagnosis must be ensured in racing to rule out more severe injuries.

“We were able to receive the injured much faster and quickly make a decision whether to accompany the helicopter pilot for further examination at the nearest hospital.”

Prim. Dr. Robert Skursky, Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Radiology at Murtal State Hospital and Radiologist at EMS

Plug and scan

Prim. Dr. Skursky explains that he can do all the examinations he would otherwise do in the Trauma Surgery Department of the Murtal Regional Hospital using the CT Rapid Response, especially when identifying injuries in traumatized patients. The mobile solution has many advantages. With its 100% uptime, the 160-slice Aquillion Prime SP CT scanner can easily and cost-effectively meet the requirements of the Red Bull Ring. All that is needed to use the solution is sufficient floor space and a power connection.

The solution is equipped with a fully ergonomic working environment and multiple post-processing options. The spacious area offers sufficient freedom of movement around both the system and the patient. Integrated workstations and mini PACS mean that hospital quality is maintained for post-processing, patient management, and reporting.
“The PACS connection is an important feature because it saves casualties from undergoing a second round of examinations when they reach the hospital,” emphasizes Prim. Dr. Skursky. In the CT Rapid Response, a comprehensive package of dose reduction functions, such as AIDR 3D and Active Collimation, also ensures that patients are exposed to the lowest possible dose of radiation. Examiners still receive the highest possible image quality, giving them meaningful information for a safe diagnosis. Skursky is so taken by the imaging solution that he would not want to have to do without it for any major race in the future. //
You can also read this piece as the original published article in VISIONS 39#. Click to download it here.
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