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/journal/122304815/abstract

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

Provided by Wiley (news : web)

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

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

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

3 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

4 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

16 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...