Nav: Home

Cardiac arrest on plane journeys: New guidelines proposed

June 04, 2017

New guidelines to deal with the in-flight emergency of cardiac arrest in a passenger or crew member are being proposed at this year's Euroanaesthesia meeting in Geneva (3-5 June). The task force that has created the guidelines is led by Professor Jochen Hinkelbein, University of Cologne, Germany and President of the German Society for Aerospace Medicine (DGLRM).

Approximately 3 billion people worldwide travelled by commercial air transport in 2016. A calculation based on the number of passengers transported shows that between 1 out of 14,000 to 1 out of 50,000 passengers will experience acute medical problems during a flight. While cardiac arrest accounts for just 0.3% of all in-flight medical emergencies, it is responsible for 86% of in-flight events resulting in death. Recently, the Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died following a cardiac arrest she suffered on a plane journey to Los Angeles.

Despite this high fatality rate of in-flight cardiac arrest (IFCA), so far, no guideline for IFCA exists that provides specific treatment recommendations. Thus, a DGLRM task force was created to develop a guideline for the treatment of in-flight cardiac arrest based on clinical and investigational expertise in this area.

Several main recommendations have been developed, which include:
  • Emergency equipment provided and its location should be mentioned in the pre-flight safety announcement

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) should be available for patients with cardiac arrest; automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have this function available and many planes now have an AED on board. The guidelines recommend that this equipment should be available on all planes.

  • It is very important for the crew to request help as soon as possible by an onboard announcement after identification of a patient with cardiac arrest. The announcement should state there has been a suspected cardiac arrest and also the location of the emergency equipment.

  • Two-person CPR is considered optimum (as it is better quality) and should be performed if possible; the crew should be trained regularly in basic life support, ideally with a focus on CPR in aircraft.

  • The plane should be diverted immediately if the patient has a return of spontaneous circulation.


Dr Hinkelbein says: "This is the first guideline providing specific treatment recommendations for in-flight medical emergencies during commercial air travel. This is of major importance to recommend proper actions and procedures since the airplane environment as well as equipment will be significantly different to what can be provided for medical emergencies on the ground."

He and his team will now begin raising awareness of the guideline by directly contacting individual airlines and asking them to incorporate it into their emergency procedures.
-end-


ESA (European Society of Anaesthesiology)

Related Cardiac Arrest Articles:

Smartphone app directs first responders to cardiac arrest three minutes before ambulance
A novel smartphone application (app) has been developed that can direct first responders to cardiac arrest victims more than three minutes before the emergency services arrive.
Cardiac arrest on plane journeys: New guidelines proposed
New guidelines to deal with the in-flight emergency of cardiac arrest in a passenger or crew member are being proposed at this year's Euroanaesthesia meeting in Geneva (June 3-5).
Cardiac arrest patients do better if taken immediately to a specialist heart center
People who suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospital have a better chance of survival if they are taken immediately to a specialist heart center rather than to the nearest general hospital, according to research published in the European Heart Journal.
'Harmless' painkillers associated with increased risk of cardiac arrest
Painkillers considered harmless by the general public are associated with increased risk of cardiac arrest, according to research published today in the March issue of European Heart Journal - Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.
Two treatments yield similar outcomes in children after in-hospital cardiac arrest
Body cooling vs. active fever prevention: Emergency body cooling does not improve survival or functional outcomes in children who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest any more than normal temperature control.
Use of statins before cardiac arrest may aid survival afterwards
Patients who have been using cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins fare better after a cardiac arrest than non-users.
CPR from bystanders associated with better outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in pediatrics
Receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation from a bystander -- compared with not -- was associated with better overall and neurologically favorable survival for children and adolescents who had out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
AED accessibility a barrier during cardiac arrest
There's just a 1 in 5 chance that a potentially life-saving automated external defibrillator will be nearby when someone experiences cardiac arrest and a 20 to 30 percent chance that the nearby device will be inaccessible because it is inside a building that's closed, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Are we giving up on cardiac arrest patients too soon?
A University of Arizona study suggests physicians need to give comatose cardiac arrest survivors adequate time before predicting outcomes.
Gender gap found in cardiac arrest care, outcomes
Women treated at a hospital after cardiac arrest may be less likely than men to receive potentially life-saving procedures.

Related Cardiac Arrest Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...