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Acta Physiol Hung. 2009 Jun;96(2):221-30. doi: 10.1556/APhysiol.96.2009.2.7.

Stress during simulated emergency transportation in a rescue helicopter: cross-correlation between stress hormones, vital functions and subjective well-being.

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Paracelsus Private Medical University A-5020 Salzburg Austria.


Vital functions and stress hormone levels during simulated emergency helicopter transport in healthy volunteers. Twenty-three volunteers were subjected to a simulated 15 minute rescue helicopter transport. We determined vital functions, ACTH, cortisol and prolactin during the flight and filled in a standardized questionnaire before and after the flight. Data were analysed descriptively, by means of cross tabulation, Spearman rank correlation and cross-correlation technique. During take-off we recorded a significant increase of vital parameters such as heart rate. Prolactin concentration rose slightly after the start. Maximum cortisol and ACTH levels were found before take-off and then they decreased gradually. As expected, ACTH and cortisol cross-correlated significantly without any relevant time lag. Test items showed a feeling of fear and concern before take off. After the flight the volunteers reported having less stress than expected. Particularly, diastolic blood pressure and prolactin levels were markedly associated with questionnaire items such as behaviour of the staff or nausea. Heart rate significantly correlated with anxiety scores. Helicopter transportation induced a marked stress reaction in healthy volunteers, which speaks in favour of smooth transports in modern helicopters and adequate behaviour towards the patient of the staff.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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