The U.S. Army (USA) and U.S. Air Force (USAF) are responsible for the medical certification of their aircrew, and conduct regular physical evaluation programs for its members to ensure the safety of the crew and public. Arrhythmia and other cardiovascular disease risk factors are a common finding in these programs. Further complicating the situation is the stressful circumstances under which these personnel work, which further increases the risk of a mishap while flying.
Cardiovascular screening for USA and USAF aircrew members is aimed at detecting subclinical disease before the symptoms occur and identifying those with a high cardiac risk so they can be removed from their flying duties. Interpretation of abnormal test values is given special significance rather than the clinical symptoms. Two levels of screening are done: level 1 and level 2. If required, those at high risk for cardiovascular disease in level 2, are referred to an aeromedical cardiologist for diagnostic evaluation (level 3 and level 4).
Level 1 is the primary level of screening and involves evaluation of risk factors such as age, smoking, cardiac history, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipid profile and resting electrocardiogram (EKG). Those at high risk in level one undergo level 2 screening that includes exercise treadmill test and/or cardiac fluoroscopy. Coronary angiography is usually included in level 4. Test results provide a measure of the severity of cardiovascular disease and are considered while making recommendation on flying duty.
HeartPlace physicians provide comprehensive Aeromedical Cardiovascular Consultation and Management services. We have the most advanced and latest diagnostic imaging technologies that enable early detection of cardiovascular diseases. We also have a highly qualified and experienced team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at our state-of-the-art facility to provide a comprehensive multidisciplinary care to all of our patients.
A pilot must have a valid medical certificate for flying. The class of the medical certificate depends on the type of flying the pilot intends to do. First class medical certificates are required for airline transport pilots and are valid for 6 months. A second class medical certificate is valid for 1 year and is required for a commercial pilot certificate. The third class medical certificate is required for private or recreational pilot certificate and is valid for 3 years for people less than 40 years in age or otherwise for 2 years. The examinations are more rigorous for a higher class of certificate.
The most common heart conditions that are of aero-medical significance include arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart condition, hypertension, valvular disease and other cardiac conditions. Only a relatively small number of cardiac conditions are permanent disqualifiers for the medical certification. Pilots are encouraged to get proper evaluation and treatment of their cardiac condition. When the condition is stabilized, AME can consult with FAA to support a possible waiver or special issuance of medical certificate based on detailed evaluation of improvement of the condition after its treatment. If this documentation is favorable, the pilot is granted a special issuance authorization, with periodic follow up testing specified.
HeartPlace has the most advanced and latest diagnostic imaging technologies that enable early detection of cardiovascular diseases. We also have a highly qualified and experienced team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at our state-of-the-art facility to provide comprehensive treatment of your cardiac condition. We can also help you in getting special issuance authorization of medical certificate from FAA if necessary.