Clinical recommendations for health professionals.

These guidelines are intended to provide clinical recommendations within aviation medicine for health professionals who provide medical assistance services, such as organising and executing the incidental transportation of patients by air.

As such, these guidelines are strictly to be used as an indication only and do not or should not replace the expertise of the treating doctor or medical specialists supporting the care of the patient. The guidelines do not stand above any commercial or air ambulance company’s decision on whether or not to accept the patient for transport.

The transport of patients by air involves certain risks, and it is always vitally important to balance these risks against the possible advantages and disadvantages. The best clinical outcome for the patient is the priority and this goal should always outweigh any other factors.

Aviation medicine is a relatively new medical discipline, and, as in many medical fields, most of the specialised knowledge involved is gleaned from everyday practice. Due to the nature of the business, basic scientific research into medical transport is only conducted on a very limited scale.

“Real experience is invaluable, and we will invite and encourage users’ feedback on any specific transports that can help further improve, enhance and develop the guidelines over time.”

Dr Soren Carstens, Project Leader

Prior to moving any patient by commercial aircraft, a medical requirements (MEDIF) form will need to be completed and submitted to the airline and it will be their decision.

If commercial air transport is not appropriate for the patient then a private air ambulance might be the only option if the patient does need to be moved in order to improve the care provided to them.

Prior to accessing the guidelines please review and accept the Terms & Conditions.

These guidelines are not appropriate for patients with the following conditions (those meeting the below criteria should be assessed on a case-by-case basis):

  • Infants less than 48 h old.
  • Women after the 36th week of pregnancy (32nd week for multiple pregnancies.
  • Woman in active labour
  • infections of the sinuses or of the ear and nose, particularly if the Eustachian tube is blocked;
  • recent myocardial infarction and stroke
  • recent surgery or injury where trapped air or gas may be present, especially abdominal trauma and gastrointestinal surgery, craniofacial and ocular injuries, brain operations, and eye operations involving penetration of the eyeball;
  • severe chronic respiratory disease, breathlessness at rest, or unresolved pneumothorax;
  • sickle-cell anaemia;
  • psychotic illness, except when fully controlled.