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Open Access Emerg Med. 2018 Apr 30;10:47-51. doi: 10.2147/OAEM.S152777. eCollection 2018.

Medical issues in flight and updating the emergency medical kit.

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Primary Care Clerkship, Family Medicine in Clinical Medicine.
Clinical and Faculty Affairs, Clinical Pediatrics and Anesthesiology.
Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar, Qatar Foundation - Education City, Doha, Qatar.


Airline travel is more affordable than ever and likely safer than ever too. Within half a day, a passenger can be on the other side of the world. However, medical care in-flight has been an issue for those with medical conditions and for those who fall sick during a journey. While airlines have the advice of multiple recognized organizations on needs and standards of care, in-flight emergencies occur at various levels. An emergency medical kit (EMK) together with trained cabin crew can be very effective at resolving the minor problems that arise and reducing the risk of escalation. On occasion, an overhead plea may be announced for additional medical expertise. Having the right content in a medical kit is more important in modern day travel, coupled with advances in equipment and passenger expectations. The authors address current issues of illness and other relevant conditions and suggest a content enhancement for an onboard EMK.


Federal Aviation Authority; International Civil Aviation Organization; arterial oxygen partial pressure; automated external defibrillator; emergency medical kit; in-flight medical emergency; pulse oximeter

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work which received no funding.

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