Transit care of the ventilated critically ill in commercial airliners
© BioMed Central Ltd 2006
Published: 21 March 2006
Air ambulances and customized military aircraft are established modes of transporting critically ill patients. Defence services and aid agencies even have flying hospitals, replete with operating theatres and ICUs. With burgeoning travel by an increasingly elderly population, a growing number of travelling Australians suffer critical illnesses overseas. Transcontinental air ambulances are prohibitively expensive and many American and European commercial airlines ban travel by seriously ill patients.
Transit intensive care on board commercial airline flights poses complex physiological and logistic challenges. We have transported hundreds of critically ill patients and report on 10 episodes of aero-intensive care with IPPV on board scheduled passenger services. These were from the Philippines, the USA, the United Kingdom, Thailand, France, Norway and Austria on Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines.
Australia and New Zealand lead the world in transit care of the critically ill in commercial airliners.