Document Detail

Syncope as the first sign of complete heart block in a military aviator.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20377150     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
INTRODUCTION: Syncope in an aviator may lead to abrupt loss or impairment of control of an aircraft and is thus a threat to safety of flight. Consequently, it is vital to conduct a thorough medical evaluation of any syncopal episode in a pilot or other flight crewmember.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 28-yr-old male Naval Flight Officer experienced loss of consciousness at a morning briefing, but immediately returned to normal except for tachycardia. He suffered a second episode at a base hospital while on a cardiac monitor. The rhythm was diagnosed as complete heart block and a permanent pacemaker was inserted. This condition is considered disqualifying for U.S. Navy aviation duty.
CONCLUSION: It is easy to dismiss a single episode of syncope in this age group as due to orthostasis, hangover, or other benign causes. Serious underlying pathology such as complete heart block is rare. The threat to safety of flight, however, dictates that all episodes of syncope in aviators receive a thorough diagnostic work-up.
Ryan K Gould
Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Aviation, space, and environmental medicine     Volume:  81     ISSN:  0095-6562     ISO Abbreviation:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Publication Date:  2010 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-04-09     Completed Date:  2011-01-06     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7501714     Medline TA:  Aviat Space Environ Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  431-2     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
Electronic Attack Squadron 142 and the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, Oak Harbor, WA, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Aerospace Medicine
Heart Block / complications,  diagnosis*,  therapy
Military Personnel
Naval Medicine
Pacemaker, Artificial
Syncope / diagnosis*,  etiology
United States

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