A method for monitoring the health of U.S. Navy submarine crewmembers during periods of isolation

Terry L. Thomas*, Tomoko I. Hooper, Margaret Camarca, John Murray, David Sack, Dale Molé, R. Timothy Spiro, Wayne G. Horn, Frank C. Garland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: With the expansion of the manned space program, an essential consideration in planning is the medical support necessary for long-term missions. Information on analogous populations serving in isolated and/or contained environments may be useful in predicting health risks for astronauts. Methods: The present study evaluates rates of health events that occur in a highly screened, healthy military population during periods of isolation. A centralized database was designed to collect medical encounter data from U.S. Navy submarines and contains demographic information, crew rosters for each patrol, medical encounter notes, accident reports, medical evacuation reports, vital signs and laboratory data. The population included in the present analysis is composed of crewmembers aboard 136 submarine patrols between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 1998. Results: A total of 2044 initial visits to medical staff and 973 re-visits for the same condition were recorded during these patrols. Potentially mission-impacting medical events reported among crewmembers were rare (i.e., among a crew of 10 individuals, only 1-2 medical events would be expected to occur during a 100 d-mission). The most common category of medical events was injury, followed by respiratory illnesses (URIs), skin problems (minor infections, ingrown toenail), symptoms and ill-defined conditions, digestive disorders, infectious conditions, sensory organ problems (ear and eye), and musculoskeletal conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Health
  • Submariners
  • Surveillance


Dive into the research topics of 'A method for monitoring the health of U.S. Navy submarine crewmembers during periods of isolation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this