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Travel Health & Safety Blog

Navigating the Skies with Cutting-Edge Medical Solutions

ADVANCES IN AVIATION HEALTH


Successfully managing an in-flight medical emergency is a complex task that requires combining the best technology and equipment with the best training and escalated assistance supported by experts. With one medical event occurring in every 600 flights, the aviation industry must ensure its crewmembers are equipped to handle any emergency because even if there is a medical professional onboard, they may not feel comfortable volunteering to help.

Crewmembers rely on their medical kits and training to handle these situations with the support of ground-based medical services like MedLink. MedAire’s tailored solutions are specifically designed to meet the needs of this specialised market, ensuring that crew and passengers experience the highest level of care and safety during their flights.

In an environment where every second counts, having the right tools and training can make all the difference. We are committed to helping flight crews navigate the challenges of in-flight medical emergencies and delivering the best possible care to passengers.

Bill Dolny, CEO MedAire.

Simplifying In-Flight Medical Processes: The Tools of the Trade

Whether flying private or on a commercial flight, crew members must rapidly assess the situation and resources available in the high-stress environment of an in-flight medical emergency. Initial assessment procedures include the CAB (Circulation, Airway, Breathing) method of first response and the SAMPLE process (Symptoms, Allergies, Medication, Previous history, Last Meal, and Events), which are crucial. However, having access to the right equipment and technology can make all the difference, allowing for a more practical, objective, scenario-driven assessment of the medical situation.

 

In-Flight App: Guided Assistance at Your Fingertips

The MedAire In-flight App provides invaluable guidance for first responders during in-flight medical emergencies. The app offers guidance through common scenarios with detailed steps to follow for each situation developed using over 35 years of in-flight medical event data.

 

Tempus IC2

The Philips Tempus IC2 is a portable vital sign monitor designed for emergency medical situations. The device can collect and transmit a wide range of medical data, including 12-lead ECG recordings, blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, and respiratory rate. Its 12-lead ECG capability is critical in identifying the underlying cause of a patient’s symptoms and guiding treatment decisions. The Tempus IC2 is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, allowing even non-medical personnel to use it confidently in emergencies. In addition, its compact size and portability make it an ideal tool for use in remote or challenging environments.

 

The Auvi-Q Epinephrine Auto-Injector: A Modern Tool for Allergic Reactions

Auvi-Q is a user-friendly, pre-measured epinephrine auto-injector with voice instructions to guide users through the injection process. It is ideal for treating life-threatening allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis with guidance making it easy for anyone to administer.

The Heartsine Samaritan Pad 450 P AED: A Life-saving Device

Automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs) are crucial for increasing the chance of survival during cardiac arrest. MedAire offers a range of user-friendly AEDs, including the Heartsine Samaritan Pad 450 P, which features visual and verbal prompts to guide first responders through CPR.

Customised Medical Kits for Private and Charter Aircraft

Understanding that private and charter aviation clients have unique requirements, MedAire offers customised medical kits that cater specifically to their needs. These kits contain essential medical equipment and medication, taking into account the passengers’ preferences, the aircraft’s size, and other factors. MedAire’s personalised approach ensures that private and charter aircraft operators have everything they need to address medical emergencies effectively.

MedAire’s Digital Assessment Kit (DAK): Comprehensive Data Collection

There is a crucial link between better assessment and superior assistance. Drawing from invaluable insights gleaned through hundreds of thousands of cases, MedAire’s DAK applies those core principles to the aviation environment simply. As a result, the DAK is the ultimate tool to assess your unwell passenger, providing your crew with the essential diagnostic tools needed to respond to in-flight medical emergencies.

 

How DAK Makes Data Collection Easy:

The Blood Pressure Monitor utilising a digital blood pressure cuff in an aircraft setting provides a distinct advantage over its analogue counterpart for not requiring a stethoscope, which is always deeply affected by the micro-vibration and high ambient noise levels on board. Crewmembers can digitally collect precise readings using electronic sensors, eliminating the need to listen to the patient’s pulse. As a result, crew members can obtain reliable and accurate blood pressure readings quickly

 

12-Lead ECG Recorder a significant upgrade from the standard 1-Lead ECG offered by most devices of similar size, user-friendly with an easy-to-apply torso-sized sticker. MedLink doctors can now access vital information to assess a patient’s heart condition in the same way they do in the Emergency Room environment.

Digital Glucometer is a compact, lightweight device ideal for use in various settings, including travel and in-flight situations, because it doesn’t need calibration to provide accurate results. In addition, digital glucometers require smaller blood samples than alternative methods, making the testing process less invasive and more comfortable for the individual.

Pulse Oximeter is a non-invasive device, they provide instant, reliable results by simply clipping onto a person’s fingertip. This ease of use is especially valuable in time-sensitive emergencies where rapid assessment is crucial. In addition to oxygen saturation, they can detect blood perfusion and respiratory rate without a nasal cannula.

Contactless thermometer or infrared thermometer minimise this risk by taking immediate temperature readings without direct physical contact with the patient, reducing the potential for spreading germs.

Beyond the Equipment: Empowering Crew with Training

MedAire’s training courses provide crew members with the critical skills to navigate in-flight emergencies confidently. The courses utilise various learning styles, from hands-on exercises to audio and visual tools, to reinforce vital topics. Medical training includes first aid, victim assessment, CPR, and AED skills designed and developed by aviation medical professionals.

Private and charter aircraft crews face unique challenges, often operating with smaller teams and being responsible for various tasks during the flight. MedAire’s specialised training programmes for private and charter crews focus on the specific skills and knowledge required to manage medical emergencies in this environment.

In all MedAire training, a comprehensive curriculum that covers first aid, victim assessment, CPR, AED skills, and even cabin-specific scenarios, MedAire’s training prepares crew members to handle emergencies confidently and professionally, ensuring a seamless experience for passengers.

The Sky’s the Limit: The Future of Health in Aviation

As technology improves, we will begin to have access to non-invasive sensors to improve how we can assess and diagnose an unwell passenger. The health sensors currently in development harness the power of various technologies, including biometrics, wearable devices, and artificial intelligence. These innovations will work together to monitor passengers’ vital signs and detect potential health risks in real time. In addition, leveraging large amounts of data with deep-machine learning using AI will allow doctors to provide quicker diagnoses. While we are still years away from some of these realities, it is interesting to consider what could be possible.

Sweat-based Biosensors

Can analyse sweat to measure various biomarkers, such as glucose, lactate, sodium, and potassium levels. Sweat-based biosensors hold promise for monitoring conditions like diabetes, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. They are typically made using flexible and stretchable materials, enabling comfortable integration into wearables or patches.

Skin-interfaced Sensors

They are designed to adhere to the skin and collect data through direct contact. They can measure vital signs, such as heart rate, skin temperature, and blood oxygen levels, and analyse sweat for various biomarkers. Skin-interfaced sensors are often integrated into adhesive patches or tattoo-like designs, making them discreet and convenient for long-term wear.

 

Optical Sensors

Some optical sensors use light to measure various health parameters through the skin non-invasively. For example, pulse oximeters emit light that penetrates the skin and measures the absorption of different wavelengths to determine blood oxygen levels. Other optical sensors can estimate blood glucose levels, hydration status, or tissue oxygenation.

 

Biometric Monitoring

Biometric sensors are poised to play a crucial role in in-flight health management. These sensors can alert the flight crew of any abnormalities or potential medical emergencies by measuring vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation levels. In cases of sudden cardiac events, the early detection provided by biometric monitoring can be life-saving.

Wearable Devices

Smartwatches, rings and fitness trackers have become increasingly popular for personal health monitoring. Integrating these devices with aircraft systems will allow flight crews to access passengers’ health data in real time and can be alerted of abnormalities. As a result, they will be better equipped to identify and respond to medical emergencies quickly and efficiently.

Artificial Intelligence

By analysing data from biometric sensors and wearable devices, AI systems can detect patterns and provide real-time diagnoses of potential medical events. Moreover, AI can assist in recommending appropriate interventions and treatments, improving the overall quality of in-flight medical care.

 

Conclusion: Client-Driven Evolution

Air travel is considered the safest mode of transportation thanks to the systematic approach to safety promotion. Medical aspects are a component of that. Medical expertise, education, and equipment in the industry follow the same line of continuous learning and improvement.

Additionally, the aviation industry has invested in having the best tools to address the most common and critical incidents that may arise. These tools, combined with well-trained cabin crews and access to telemedicine support from ground-based physicians, provide a comprehensive system of care that can make the difference between life and death in an in-flight medical emergency. While in-flight medical emergencies can be stressful, passengers and crew members can rest assured that the aviation industry has taken every precaution to ensure their safety and well-being.

As pioneers of remote telemedicine, MedAire is committed to adapting its solutions to the ever-changing aviation landscape. By listening to clients, responding to their requirements and anticipating their future needs, MedAire has identified best practices and trends, only possible from our 35+ years of experience. As a result, MedAire ensures that the aviation industry is equipped to handle in-flight medical emergencies efficiently. Through cutting-edge technology, comprehensive training, and expert assistance, MedAire is revolutionising how medical care is administered 30,000+ feet in the sky, ultimately increasing safety and lowering risks for passengers and crew alike. With a proven track record and an unwavering dedication to improvement, MedAire remains at the forefront of in-flight medical care, leading the way towards a safer and more reliable future in aviation.

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Business and General Aviation Aviation Airlines