Air Medical Transport of Cardiac Patients

The air medical transport of cardiac patients is a rapidly expanding practice. For various medical, social, and economic indications, patients are being flown longer distances at commercial altitudes, including international and intercontinental flights. There are data supporting the use of short-distance helicopter flights early in the course of a cardiac event for patients needing emergent transfer for percutaneous coronary intervention or aortocoronary bypass. When considering elective long-distance air medical transport of cardiac patients for social or economic reasons, it is necessary to weigh the benefits against the potential risks of flight. A few recent studies suggest that long-distance Viagra Generic online air medical transport is safe under certain circumstances. Current guidelines for air travel after myocardial infarction do not address the use of medical escorts or air ambulances equipped with intensive care facilities. Further research using larger prospective studies is needed to better define criteria for safe long-distance air medical transport of cardiac patients.

The use of air medical transport services provided by private and insurance company-affiliated air ambulance companies has risen significantly over the past 15 years. In 1992 alone, the 250 US-based and 12 internationally based air medical transport operators belonging to the Association of Air Medical Services performed > 160,000 transfers over a wide range of distances. For a combination of medical, social, and economic reasons, cardiac patients with increasing acuity of illness are being transported distances spanning the globe.

Air medical transport is performed using rotary wing aircraft (ie, helicopter) or fixed-wing aircraft (eg, engine propeller or jet air ambulance, or medical escort on a commercial airline). Rotary-wing aircraft are used for emergency transport over short distances, whereas fixed-wing aircraft are used for transport over longer distances (eg, > 150 miles). For long-distance transport that is elective (ie, for economic and/or social reasons), patients in relatively stable condition may be medically escorted aboard a commercial aircraft. Elective long-distance transport of patients in less stable condition (eg, early postmyocardial infarction [MI], receiving mechanical ventilation, or receiving IV vasopressors or antiarrhythmic agents) and emergency long-distance transport is performed using fixed-wing air ambulances.

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