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Motion Sickness Prediction in Aeromedical Evacuation of Patients with Ebola

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INTRODUCTION: Aeromedical evacuation of patients affected by severe infectious diseases inside an aircraft transit isolator (ATI) system is at potential risk of motion sickness (MS). A test flight was then conducted to quantify this risk during the transfer of an Ebola patient from West Africa to Italy.

CASE REPORT: A mannequin was inserted inside an ATI and instrumented to provide acceleration parameters throughout the test flight. The analysis of the data predicted a MS incidence of about 2% for a 6-h flight, so the decision to use anti-MS drugs only in selected cases was taken (i.e., those with positive past history of MS, gastrointestinal disorders, or residual carsickness due to previous ambulance run). On this basis, an actual aeromedical evacuation of an Ebola patient was successfully performed without the use of any anti-MS drugs.

DISCUSSION: During aeromedical evacuation with ATI systems, the patient’s risk of MS should be evaluated on an individual basis and calibrated according to the specific exposure to motion evoked by the flight platform used. Due to the possible onset of untoward effects, prevention with anti-MS drugs in these patients should be limited to selected cases.

Lucertini M, Autore A, Covioli J, Biselli R, D’Amelio R. Motion sickness prediction in aeromedical evacuation of patients with Ebola. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(1):71–74.
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Keywords: airsickness; aviation medicine; infectious diseases; vibration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aerospace Medicine Department, Italian Air Force Flight Experimental Centre, Pratica di Mare AFB, Rome, Italy

Publication date: 01 January 2016

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

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