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A Proposed Aeromedical Disposition Flowchart for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

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BACKGROUND: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by multisystem involvement. Clinical management of this condition has unique aeromedical considerations and an impact on subsequent aeromedical disposition. A comprehensive decision matrix would greatly benefit aviation medicine practitioners in the management of aircrew and personnel in flying-related vocations who are diagnosed with SLE.

CASE REPORT: We describe the aeromedical management of a military air traffic controller who was diagnosed with SLE after presenting with cutaneous lupus, nonscarring alopecia, symmetrical small joint polyarthropathy, leukopenia, and presence of SLE-specific antibody. She was treated with hydroxychloroquine and low-dose systemic glucocorticoids, and allowed to return to duties with a proximity restriction and a bar on field deployments and night duties.

DISCUSSION: Several SLE manifestations may have either incapacitating or distracting effects on aircrew and personnel in flying-related vocations. Some medications used in the treatment of SLE may similarly impact on an individuals ability to safely execute flight or air traffic control duties. We propose an aeromedical disposition decision flowchart that would guide aviation medicine practitioners in the management of individuals diagnosed with SLE to ensure optimal and safe performance in their respective occupational settings.

Seah BZQ, Chua CG. A proposed aeromedical disposition flowchart for systemic lupus erythematosus. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2020; 91(10):826832.
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Keywords: aeromedical disposition; aircrew; flying-related vocation; systemic lupus erythematosus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2020

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.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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