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Aerospace Medicine 

Aerospace Medicine
Chapter:
Aerospace Medicine
Author(s):

Lawrence Steinkraus

and Jan Stepanek

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199743018.003.0015
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date: 21 August 2019

Aerospace medicine focuses on the clinical care, research, and operational support of the health, safety, and performance of crewmembers and passengers of air and space vehicles, together with the support personnel who assist operation of such vehicles. Understanding of the 5 basic gas laws aids understanding of aeromedically significant effects, specifically hypoxia, volume changes at higher altitudes, and decompression illness. Signs and symptoms of decompression illness may include pain in and around joints. More serious is the affliction of heart and lungs or neurologic problems. Physiologic stressors of commercial flight can include decreased partial pressure of oxygen, vibration, noise, humidity, expansion of trapped gases, and thermal stress. Aeromedical transportation of patients with more serious medical conditions requires appropriate equipment, staffing, and coordination of logistical issues. There are 15 specific conditions that disqualify aviators under FAA rules. The primary purpose of aircraft mishap investigations is to prevent future accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Accidents are investigated with multidisciplinary teams, including physicians, following standardized investigation guidelines.

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