Epidemiology of aeromedical evacuation: An analysis of 504 cases

Michael Sand*, Marcus Bollenbach, Daniel Sand, Hartmut Lotz, Christina Thrandorf, Christoph Cirkel, Peter Altmeyer, Falk Georges Bechara

*Corresponding author for this work
24 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Increasing air travel has resulted in a significant increase in aeromedical evacuation (AE) over the past decade. However, there are limited epidemiological data available on the diagnosis, costs, and transport characteristics of AE cases. Methods. Cases of AE by a relief organization (Workers' Samaritan Federation Germany) were analyzed based on the following criteria: age, sex, and diagnosis of the patient, ventilation mode, days of illness before transport, type of transport, flight routes, flying time, flight distance, type of aircraft, type and distance of connecting transport from the destination airport to the final hospital, total cost per repatriation, cost per flight-minute, and cost per flight-kilometer of each transport type. Results. A total of 504 patients (273 males, 231 females, aged 42 d-96 y, median 66 y) were included in the study. The top three diagnoses for adults were fracture of the femoral neck (n = 74, 15%), stroke (n = 69, 14%), and myocardial infarction (n = 39, 8%). Transport was carried out with an air ambulance (n = 391, 78%, 73.67 /min), a scheduled aircraft with regular seating (n = 62, 12%, 17.57 /min), a stretcher in a scheduled aircraft (n = 48, 10%, 35.28 /min), or a patient transport compartment installed on board a scheduled aircraft (n = 3, < 1%). Conclusions. As the demand for AE is likely to increase in the future, the cost-effectiveness and selection of the appropriate form of air transportation, while assuring the right medical response, will be of increasing importance. Patients are likely to benefit from further epidemiological assessments like those presented in this study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)405-409
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 11.2010


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