The management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has evolved significantly in the last 20 years; however, the last major publication to address a consensus on the management of CVD in aircrew was published in 1999, following the second European Society of Cardiology conference of aviation cardiology experts. This article outlines an introduction to aviation cardiology and focuses on the broad aviation medicine considerations that are required to manage aircrew appropriately and optimally (both pilots and non-pilot aviation professionals). This and the other articles in this series are born out of a 3 year collaborative working group between international military aviation cardiologists and aviation medicine specialists, many of whom also work with and advise civil aviation authorities, as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led initiative to address the occupational ramifications of CVD in aircrew (HFM-251). This article describes the types of aircrew employed in the civil and military aviation profession in the 21st century; the types of aircraft and aviation environment that must be understood when managing aircrew with CVD; the regulatory bodies involved in aircrew licensing and the risk assessment processes that are used in aviation medicine to determine the suitability of aircrew to fly with medical (and specifically cardiovascular) disease; and the ethical, occupational and clinical tensions that exist when managing patients with CVD who are also professional aircrew.
- health care delivery
- heart disease