Neuhaus, C. and Hinkelbein, J. (2015). Medical emergencies on board commercial airliner. Notfall Rettungsmed., 18 (4). S. 279 - 285. NEW YORK: SPRINGER. ISSN 1436-0578

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Worldwide airline travel increased to approx. 2.5 billion passengers in 2012. In spite of the increased probability of encountering an in-flight medical emergency, detailed data on incidence, causes, and consequences still remain limited. The aim of this review was to analyze previously published data concerning incidence, causes, and consequences of in-flight medical emergencies during commercial airline travel and portray diagnostic and therapeutic options for the travelling physician. To identify relevant data on in-flight medical emergencies of different previously published studies, a MEDLINEA (R) search was performed. Two specialists for anesthesiology with expertise in aviation and emergency medicine holding valid commercial/air transport pilot licenses independently reviewed the retrieved studies. Most authors report one in-flight medical emergency incident in the range of 10,000-40,000 passengers transported. Cardiac problems as well as syncope are responsible for most in-flight emergencies, followed by gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory emergencies. Diagnostic and therapeutic equipment on board varies significantly due to various international recommendations and poor standards. The lack of an international database on in-flight medical emergencies on board commercial airlines greatly complicates the adaptive supply of emergency equipment and targeted education of first responders. Incidentally present physicians have to assess available options for diagnosis and treatment individually and have to balance their actions accordingly.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-402497
DOI: 10.1007/s10049-015-0009-9
Journal or Publication Title: Notfall Rettungsmed.
Volume: 18
Number: 4
Page Range: S. 279 - 285
Date: 2015
Publisher: SPRINGER
Place of Publication: NEW YORK
ISSN: 1436-0578
Language: German
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Emergency MedicineMultiple languages


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