Safe for Passengers with Lung Disease to Travel by Air

May 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Oxygen levels while flying are substantially less than at ground level. Current guidelines for in-flight oxygen levels are sufficient to support the needs of passengers with non-obstructed lung disease. According to two articles published in the Wiley-Blackwell journal, Respirology, commercial air travel appears to be safe for patients with lung disease as the current policies for the in-flight oxygen levels and availability of supplemental oxygen can adequately accommodate passenger’s needs.

The paper entitled, “Predicting the response to air travel in passengers with non-obstructive lung disease: Are the current guidelines appropriate?” quantified the hypoxaemic, or the blood oxygenation level, response in 14 patients with non-obstructive lung disease during air travel and compares it to the British Thoracic Society (BTS) air travel published guidelines.

“The BTS guideline uses common diagnostic tools to provide a simple oxygen level algorithm to identify patients who may require in-flight oxygen. By using the BTS recommendations, we are able to identify the subjects that needed supplement oxygen during the flight. These findings should add confidence to passengers with pulmonary disorders wishing to travel”, said co-author Dr. Paul Kelly from the Respiratory Physiology Laboratory at Christchurch Hospital.

Another paper in the issue, “Airline policy for passengers requiring supplemental in-flight oxygen” examines 54 commercial airlines servicing Australia and New Zealand to consolidate information on the current airline policies on supplemental in-flight oxygen for passengers with lung disease, as well as its approximate cost to passengers.

While the study confirmed that most airlines can accommodate passengers requiring supplemental oxygen, there was substantial variation in air policies and cost for passengers with lung disease who wish to travel while using supplemental oxygen.

Co-author, Dr. Lutz Beckert, from the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago said, “Passenger with lung disease can use this study as a resource to compare airline policies and find a carrier that best suits their needs. In addition, these findings may also act as a catalyst for air travel providers to consider the development of a standard policy for the industry.”

More information:

The abstract of “Predicting the response to air travel in passengers with non-obstructive lung disease: Are the current guidelines appropriate?” is available at: www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo… l/122304815/abstract

The abstract of “Airline policy for passengers requiring supplemental in-slight oxygen” is available at: www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo… l/122304816/abstract

Provided by Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: US warns Ebola could infect 1.4 million by 2015

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA wants to smooth bumpy plane rides

Jul 20, 2005

Most airline passengers and even flight crews don't like turbulence, so NASA researchers have developed an automatic turbulence reporting system.

Entry screening won't stop SARS, flu

Sep 23, 2005

Screening air passengers as they arrive at British airports is unlikely to prevent importation of either SARS or influenza, researchers in London report.

Opposition grows to U.S. flu-fighting plan

Apr 26, 2006

Airlines, health experts and rights advocates say a U.S. plan to detain sick airline and ship passengers would be costly and violate privacy, a report said.

New prognostic indicator for patients with IPF

Feb 20, 2009

There may be a new way to predict mortality in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a devastating disease that slowly petrifies the lungs. Most patients live only three years after diagnosis on average; however, ...

Helium helps lung patients breathe easier

Mar 09, 2009

New research published in the international journal Chest, by Neil Eves, PhD, finds that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who breathed a mix of 60% helium and 40% oxygen during a rehabilitation progra ...

Recommended for you

US warns Ebola could infect 1.4 million by 2015

26 minutes ago

The number of Ebola infections in Liberia and Sierra Leone could skyrocket to 1.4 million by January 2015, according to a worst-case scenario released by US health authorities Tuesday.

Team finds method for more precise diagnosis of pneumonia

49 minutes ago

A patient survives life-threatening trauma, is intubated in the intensive care unit (ICU) to support his or her affected vital functions, starts to recover, and then develops pneumonia. It's a scenario well-known to physicians, ...

Screen women for chlamydia, gonorrhea, experts say

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—All sexually active women should be screened for two of the most common sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia and gonorrhea, according to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services ...

Noninvasive devices may help migraines, FDA says

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Two new prescription devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may provide some relief for people with migraine headaches who don't tolerate migraine medications well, ...

User comments : 0