What are the Clinical Diagnoses Leading to Suspension in US Army Aircrew?

Research Paper Title

Clinical Diagnoses Leading to Suspension in Army Aircrew: An Epidemiological Study.

Background

There have been few large-scale epidemiological examinations of military aircrew populations reported in recent literature. This study examined 10 yr of medical records contained in the U.S. Army Aeromedical Electronic Resource Office (AERO) in an effort to identify the most prevalent conditions affecting Army aviator career longevity.

Methods

This study was a retrospective epidemiological review; data were retrieved on 24,568 rated aircrew patients from the AERO database, of whom 5.2% were women. The dataset was composed of a total of 181,471 cases between June 2005 and June 2015. Age ranged from 17 to 73 yr. The data were examined in terms of raw ICD-9 diagnostic codes, derived systems-based categories, and occupational consequences.

Results

The top 10 diagnoses, causes for waiver, and permanent suspension of aircrew were determined both in terms of the ICD-9 codes and the system groupings. Leading waiver causes included hypertension (11.5%), hearing loss (9.7%), spinal disorder (14.4%), and obstructive sleep apnea (5.2%). Leading permanent suspension causes were psychiatric disorders (28.2%), particularly PTSD, being the leading cause, with spinal pathology (16.1%) second. In almost all diagnostic groupings the Spearman’s rho correlation coefficients between age and diagnosis presence were positively related, although often with no association with negative occupational outcome.

Conclusions

This study revealed the leading medical causes of waiver and suspension from flying duties, producing evidence to inform leadership understanding of disease prevalence and its subsequent impact on flying status. This is of prime importance to help direct policy and implement strategies for health protection.Curry IP, Kelley AM, Gaydos SJ. Clinical diagnoses leading to suspension in Army aircrew: an epidemiological study

Reference

Curry, I.P., Kelley, A.M. & Gaydos, S.J. (2018) Clinical Diagnoses Leading to Suspension in Army Aircrew: An Epidemiological Study.Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 89(7), pp.587-592. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5048.2018.

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