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Free Content Subdural Hemorrhage in a Military Aviator

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BACKGROUND: The occurrence of any intracranial bleeding is highly significant from an aeromedical risk perspective and potentially career-ending for a military aviator. Where it arises from head trauma, there is always concern regarding ongoing risk of post-traumatic epilepsy.

CASE REPORT: A 26-yr-old male military aviator with persistent headache was found to have small right frontal and parietal subacute subdural hematomas, most likely precipitated by minor head trauma and possibly exacerbated by other concurrent physiological stressors. The hematomas resolved with conservative management and the aviator made a full recovery.

DISCUSSION: The association between traumatic subdural hematomas and the occurrence of post-traumatic epilepsy is well documented, and this, together with the possibility of recurrent bleeding, must be considered the significant aeromedical risks. However, this case presents an unusual situation of small subdural hematomas in isolation with no other features suggestive of significant traumatic brain injury. Relevant medical literature was found to be substantially lacking, and no other similar case reports of aviators could be found. An aeromedical decision-making process is discussed in relation to returning the aviator to flying duties in a restricted capacity.

Cable GG. Subdural hemorrhage in a military aviator. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(6):575–579.

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Keywords: aeromedical decision-making; head injury; intracranial hematoma; post-traumatic epilepsy

Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: RAAF Institute of Aviation Medicine, RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 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.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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