3 years ago

To fly as a pilot after cardiac surgery.

Ulrich Rosendahl, John Pepper, Ed Nicol, Stuart Mitchell, Thomas Syburra, Denis Bron
Aircrew are responsible for safe and reliable aircraft operations. Cardiovascular disease accounts for 50% of all pilot licences declined or withdrawn for medical reasons in Western Europe and is the most common cases of sudden incapacitation in flight. Aircrew retirement age is increasing (up to age 65) in a growing number of airlines and the burden of subclinical, but potentially significant, coronary atherosclerosis is unknown in qualified pilots above age 40. Safety considerations are paramount in aviation medicine, and the most dreaded cardiovascular complications are thromboembolic events and rhythm disturbances due to their potential for sudden incapacitation. In aviation, the current consensus risk threshold for an acceptable level of controlled risk of acute incapacitation is 1% (for dual pilot commercial operations), a percentage calculated using engineering principles to ensure the incidence of a fatal air accident is no greater than 1 per 107 h of flying. This is known as the '1% safety rule'. To fly as a pilot after cardiac surgery is possible; however, special attention to perioperative planning is mandatory. Choice of procedure is crucial for license renewal. Licensing restrictions are likely to apply and the postoperative follow-up requires a tight scheduling. The cardiac surgeon should always liaise and communicate with the pilot's aviation medicine examiner prior to and following cardiac surgery.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/ejcts/ezx346

DOI: 10.1093/ejcts/ezx346

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