World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Golden hour (medicine)

Article Id: WHEBN0000286799
Reproduction Date:

Title: Golden hour (medicine)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Emergency medicine, ABC (medicine), Medical emergency, Emergency medical services, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Golden hour (medicine)

Golden Hour Principle

In emergency medicine, the golden hour (also known as golden time) refers to a time period lasting for one hour following traumatic injury being sustained by a casualty or medical emergency, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death.[1] It is well established that the patient's chances of survival are greatest if they receive care within a short period of time after a severe injury; however, there is no evidence to suggest that survival rates drop off after 60 minutes. Some have come to use the term to refer to the core principle of rapid intervention in trauma cases, rather than the narrow meaning of a critical one-hour time period.

General concept

Cases of severe trauma, especially internal bleeding, require surgical intervention. Complications such as shock may occur if the patient is not managed appropriately and expeditiously. It therefore becomes a priority to transport patients suffering from severe trauma as fast as possible to specialists, most often found at a hospital trauma center, for definitive treatment. Because some injuries can cause a trauma patient to deteriorate extremely rapidly, the lag time between injury and treatment should ideally be kept to a bare minimum; this has come to be specified as no more than 60 minutes, after which time the survival rate for traumatic patients is alleged to fall off dramatically.

Origins of the term

The late Dr. R Adams Cowley is credited with promoting this concept, first in his capacity as a military surgeon and later as head of the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.[2][3] The concept of the "Golden Hour" may have been derived from French military World War I data.[4] The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center section of the University of Maryland Medical Center's website quotes Cowley as saying, "There is a golden hour between life and death. If you are critically injured you have less than 60 minutes to survive. You might not die right then; it may be three days or two weeks later — but something has happened in your body that is irreparable."[3]


While most medical professionals agree that delays in definitive care are undesirable, recent peer reviewed literature casts doubt on the validity of the 'golden hour' as it appears to lack a scientific basis. Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, an outspoken critic of the golden hour and other EMS "myths" like critical incident stress management, has indicated that the peer reviewed medical literature does not demonstrate any "magical time" for saving critical patients.[5]

In popular culture

The television drama series The Golden Hour and the video game series Trauma Center were based on this concept.

In a Simpsons comic, Dr. Hibbert refers to the golden hour, except he says it is in the middle of the night during a time when doctors can charge the patients extra.

In the Sims 3, the Golden Hour is a title given to a book along the medical career track.

Grey's Anatomy season 7 episode 15 is titled The Golden Hour.

A popular Korean medical drama called Golden Time was aired in 2012. It was based roughly on a true story. This drama received very positive ratings in Korea.

In the TV show Neighbours, after Bridget died, Sunny shows Ringo the website, "The Golden Hour", explaining to him that if Bridget had been found sooner she might have survived.

See also


  1. ^ American College of Surgeons (2008). Atls, Advanced Trauma Life Support Program for Doctors. Amer College of Surgeons.  
  2. ^ Lerner, EB; Moscati (2001). "The Golden Hour: Scientific Fact or Medical "Urban Legend?"". Academic Emergency Medicine 8 (7): 758–760.  
  3. ^ a b "Tribute to R Adams Cowley, M.D.," University of Maryland Medical Center, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Accessed June 22, 2007.
  4. ^ "Original data supporting the 'Golden Hour' concept produced from French World War I data," Trauma Resuscitation at, Accessed June 22, 2007.
  5. ^ Bledsoe, Bryan E (2002). "The Golden Hour: Fact or Fiction". Emergency Medical Services 6 (31): 105.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.