World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 1226–1231 | Cite as

Surgical Procedures Performed by Emergency Medical Teams in Sudden-Onset Disasters: A Systematic Review

  • Charles A. CoventryEmail author
  • Ashish I. Vaska
  • Andrew J. A. Holland
  • David J. Read
  • Rebecca Q. Ivers
Scientific Review



Emergency medical teams (EMTs) frequently provide surgical care after sudden-onset disasters (SODs) in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this review is to describe the types of surgical procedures performed by EMTs with general surgical capability in order to aid the recruitment and training of surgeons for these teams.


A search of electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE) was carried out to identify articles published between 1990 and 2018 that describe the type of surgical procedures performed by EMTs in the impact and post-impact phases of a SOD. Further relevant articles were obtained by hand searching reference lists.


A total of 16 articles met the inclusion criteria. Articles reporting on EMTs from a number of different countries and responding to a variety of SODs were included. There was a high prevalence of procedures for extremity soft tissue injuries (46.8%) and fractures (28.3%), although a number of abdominal and genitourinary/obstetric procedures were also reported.


Based upon this review, deployment of surgeons or teams with experience in the management of soft tissue wounds, orthopaedic trauma, abdominal surgery, and obstetrics is recommended.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)
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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinic School, Sydney Medical SchoolUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryGeelong HospitalGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Paediatric SurgeryThe Children’s Hospital at WestmeadSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.National Critical Care and Trauma Response CentreDarwinAustralia
  5. 5.School of Public Health and Community MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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