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Báo cáo y học: "In-flight medical emergencies: time for a registry" Available online http://ccforum.com/content/13/1/121Page 1 of 2(page number not for citation purposes)AbstractWhen a passenger becomes sick while flying on board acommercial airline flight, the cabin crew commonly solicit theassistance of a volunteer physician. Although in-flight medicalemergencies take place every day, little is known about theepidemiology of these events. A new study by Sand andcolleagues sheds light on the incidence of specific illnesses thatoccurred on board commercial flights.Airline travel is safe and reasonably comfortable, but manyfactors, including psychological stress, jet lag, and pre-existing disease, can cause a small number of passengers tobecome ill. There is no central registry of in-flight medicalemergencies. Each airline tracks its own events, making itdifficult to determine the true incidence of specific illnessesthat occur during flight. In a recent article published in CriticalCare, Sand and colleagues  studied the epidemiology ofin-flight medical emergencies by collecting data from twoEuropean airlines over 5 years. This study provides valuableinformation that is of interest to specialists in aerospacemedicine and to every physician who travels by air and maybe called upon to help a fellow passenger. Epidemiologicstudies such as this one make it possible to conductmeaningful research and can be used to identify trends in in-flight medical emergencies. The ultimate benefit is improvedclinical management of passengers who become patients.Understanding which illnesses are most likely to occur willimprove the care of passengers who need emergencymedical assistance while traveling on board commercialflights. Most airlines rely upon the presence of a volunteerwith medical training to treat a sick passenger until theairplane lands and the passenger can be taken to anemergency room . Ideally, physicians can learn about thephysiological changes that occur during flight and tailor theircare accordingly. The Yale Aerospace Medicine Group haspreviously recommended, for example, that patients orphysicians using pulse oximeters on board commercialaircraft should understand that all passengers are mildlyhypoxic and should have a plan of care that takes this factinto account . Knowing in advance which patients are mostlikely to become ill will help the aerospace medicinecommunity to develop training materials for physicians whomight be asked to volunteer. Epidemiologic studies will alsobe of assistance to physicians who evaluate patients forfitness to fly for long distances.The Air Transport Medicine Committee of the AerospaceMedical Association (ASMA) has developed a series ofrecommendations for the contents of an emergency medicalkit. ASMA periodically updates these recommendations, butthe latest recommendation specifically cites the lack ofindustry-wide data as a problem and encourages thecollection of this important information . Epidemiologicstudies can help ASMA and the airlines to tailor emergencymedical kits for the conditions that are most likely to occur.Although US airlines are required to carry a comprehensivemedical kit on all flights, regulations outside the US vary, andemergency medical equipment may be sparse, especially on‘no-frills’ airlines . The ability to predict the likelihood of aspecific illness, combined with a program that tracks whichcomponents of the medical kit are used can help airlines andregulatory authorities to create policies that serve the flyingpublic while eliminating unnecessary equipment.The lack of a central registry makes it difficult to conductresearch as to the true incidence of many in-flight events.Sand and colleagues have identified the lack of standardi-zation in both reporting requirements and terminology to be amajor roadblock in their study. Although the authors do notmake this recommendation, they present a cogent argumentin favor of a centralized registry of in-flight medical emer-gencies. The information gained from epidemiologic studiesof in-flight medical emergencies is of benefit to the airlines,CommentaryIn-flight medical emergencies: time for a registry?Keith J RuskinYale University School of Medicine, Cedar Street TMP3, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USACorresponding author: Keith J Ruskin, email@example.comPublished: 25 February 2009 Critical Care 2009, 13:121 (doi:10.1186/cc7715)This article is online at http://ccforum.com/content/13/1/121© 2009 BioMed Central LtdSee related research by Sand et al., http://ccforum.com/content/13/1/R3ASMA = Aerospace Medical Association.Critical Care Vol 13 No 1 RuskinPage 2 of 2(page number not for citation purposes)aerospace medical researchers, and the traveling public.Sand and colleagues’ study should serve as a template forfuture research in this important area.Competing interestsThe author declares that they have no competing interests.References1. Sand M, Bechara FG, Sand D, Mann B: Surgical and medicalemergencies on board European aircraft: a retrospectivestudy of 10189 cases. Crit Care 2009, 13:R3.2. Ruskin KJ, Hernandez KA, Barash PG: Management of in-flightmedical emergencies. Anesthesiology 2008, 108:749-755.3. Wagner JL, Ruskin KJ: Pulse oximetry: basic principles andapplications in aerospace medicine. Aviat Space Environ Med2007, 78:973-978.4. Thibeault C, Evans A; Air Transport Medicine Committee, Aero-space Medical Association: Emergency medical kit for com-mercial airlines: an update. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007, 78:1170-1171.5. European Joint Aviation Authorities: JAR-OPS1, Commercial AirTransportation (Aeroplanes), Global Engineering Documents.Englewood, USA. . sick passenger until theairplane lands and the passenger can be taken to anemergency room . Ideally, physicians can learn about thephysiological changes. valuableinformation that is of interest to specialists in aerospacemedicine and to every physician who travels by air and maybe called upon to help a fellow passenger.
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