TitleArrhythmias, sudden cardiac death and incapacitation of pilots.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMantziari, L, Styliadis Charalampos, Kourtidou-Papadeli Chrysoula, and Styliadis Ioannis
IssueSuppl 1
Date Published2008 Aug

Inflight medical emergencies occur at a rate of 20 to 100 per million passengers, with a death rate of 0.1 to 1 per million. Cardiac, neurologic, and respiratory complaints comprise the more serious emergencies, as defined by aircraft diversion or use of ground-based medical assistance. In this paper, we review changes seen in the resting electrocardiogram in normal individuals exposed to high altitude, alongside important implications for patients with heart diseases in high altitude exposures and the possible effects of high altitude to permanent cardiac pacemakers. Arrhythmias in pilots and public safety are revisited together with the guidelines of the Joint Aviation Requirements (JAR) in Europe. The situation of Military flights is also discussed. Physicians ought to become knowledgeable about the specific medical job standards for their patients when asked to render opinions regarding fitness to fly. A database must be established to obtain prospective data that defines the risk of accidents in patients who are or were being treated for arrhythmias. Current guidelines could then be updated and revised as appropriate.

Alternate JournalHippokratia
PubMed ID19050752
PubMed Central IDPMC2577402