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Aviat Space Environ Med. 2000 Aug;71(8):827-31.

Medical oxygen and air travel.

Author information

1
American Medical Association, Chicago, IL 60610, USA.

Abstract

This report responds to a resolution that asked the American Medical Association (AMA) to take action to improve airport and airline accommodations for passengers requiring medical oxygen. Information for the report was derived from a search of the MEDLINE database and references listed in pertinent articles, as well as through communications with experts in aerospace and emergency medicine. Based on this information, the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs determined that commercial air travel exposes passengers to altitude-related hypoxia and gas expansion, which may cause some passengers to experience significant symptoms and medical complications during flight. Medical guidelines are available to help physicians evaluate and counsel potential passengers who are at increased risk of inflight hypoxemia. Supplemental oxygen may be needed for some passengers to maintain adequate tissue oxygenation and prevent hypoxemic complications. For safety and security reasons, federal regulations prohibit travelers from using their own portable oxygen system onboard commercial aircraft. Many U.S. airlines supply medical oxygen for use during flight but policies and procedures vary. Oxygen-dependent passengers must make additional arrangements for the use of supplemental oxygen in airports. Uniform standards are needed to specify procedures and equipment for the use of medical oxygen in airports and aboard commercial aircraft. Revision of federal regulations should be considered to accommodate oxygen-dependent passengers and permit them to have an uninterrupted source of oxygen from departure to destination.

PMID:
10954360
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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