The I international Congress «Current Issues of Aviation Medicine» was held from 17 to 19 October 2018 in Moscow. The event was initiated and organized by Aviation Medicine Doctors Association (AMDA), Russia, with the participation of the Federal Air Transport Agency (Russia) and under the auspices of the European Society of Aerospace Medicine (ESAM). The venue of the meeting was Corporate University of JSC «Sheremetyevo International Airport».
The Congress brought together over 350 specialists and managers in the field of aviation medicine both from Russia and other countries, including Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Great Britain, Ireland, Slovenia, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, etc.
The I international Congress «Current issues of Aviation Medicine» has received an approval from the Commission on assessment of training activities of the Continuing medical education. The Congress has met the requirements of the Coordination Council for the development of continuing medical and pharmaceutical education of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. Thus, the participants were not only able to get acquainted with the expertise and practices of medical provision of aviation safety, but also to improve their professional skills.
The Congress welcomed international experts, representatives of ESAM and Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA), who work in close cooperation with organizations such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The event was attended by therapists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, psychologists, specialists in the field of functional and laboratory diagnostics, otolaryngologists, surgeons, members of flight expert medical commissions as well as aerospace medicine practitioners.
The participants of the Congress discussed a wide range of flight medical expertise issues related to healthcare measures, medical risk and flight safety management.
45 leading international experts and experts in the field of aviation medicine gave their presentations at the Congress.
AMDA President Elena Kolesnikova reported on the current stage of development of Russian civil aviation medicine. The Chair of Central Flight Expert medical Commission Dr. Boris Potievsky talked on the current tendencies and clinical aspects of medical flight examination: medical examination protocols and criteria of health fitness for flight crews of civil aircrafts
Dr. Declan Maher (Medical Assessor for Irish Aviation Authority, ESAM EC co-opted member) and Dr. Elena Kataman (Director of ESAM Executive Committee, Chief specialist of Aviation Medicine Aviation Authorities of the Republic of Moldova) presented information on approaches to the assessment of the risks associated with the health of flight crews and different aeromedical certification systems.
Dr. N. Zabrodina, Chief of the «Central Clinical Hospital of Civil Aviation» (Russia) talked about the role of that unique institution plays in preserving fitness to fly longevity in the Russian Federation.
Dr. Elena Adeninskaya and Dr. Marc-André Polet presented their findings on managing the problem of hearing loss among pilots.
On the first day of the Congress the specialists discussed the similarities and differences between Russian and international approaches to medical assessment of pilots, ATCOs and flight attendants.
The necessity of bringing in changes into Russian regulations on medical assessment of pilots was stated as overall conclusion.
Current level of development of medicine technologies as well as achievements of civil aviation in general surpass the level of standards which are applied to evaluate medical status of pilots and their fitness to fly.
The approaches in Russia are characterized by strict regulations based on military aviation standards. Such an approach is considered to be tougher in comparison with international regulations. As a result, pilots who are justified as “unfit” in Russia receive their “fit” conclusion in other countries and continue their professional career abroad. Professional pilots are highly demanded all around the world.
The European participants gave high estimates of Russian experience in health monitoring and medical provision, rehabilitation, prophylaxis and support of flight longevity in pilots.
Many reports made on the first day covered clinical aspects of aviation medicine – cardiovascular system, otolaryngology, neurology and surgical expertise.
On the second day of the Congress, the participants discussed aspects of risk management in medical examination of aviation personnel, paid attention to the problems of identifying pathologies threatening flight safety. Special attention was paid to the issues of psychological support of professional activities of aviation personnel and on-board medical provision.
The greatest interest of the participants was evoked by the reports on Russian and international practice of commencing medication by crew members and ATCOs.
According to the experts, Russian regulations concerning medication used in civil aviation are out-of-date, because they have not been revised since USSR period. Consequently, the norms appear to be too strict, e.g in case of a cold a European AME can allow the pilot to operate, but in Russia it is excluded. However, the current level of development of medication treatment makes it possible for pilots to fly even during the treatment of diabetes and hypertension.
Medication treatment needs to be revised in frames of the latest pharmaceutical updates.
The result of the discussion was the decision to hold series of seminars on practices of medication use in aviation medicine. In the future, AMDA is aiming to develop guidelines based on the European «Guidance material on the use of medications in Pilots and ATCOs».
The Congress participants also discussed the issues of detecting pathologies threatening flight safety. The experts paid special attention to on-board medical provision. The number of diversion caused by in-flight medical events is considerably higher in Russia than in Europe. If a passenger on a Russian aircraft experiences health deterioration, the Pilot-in-Command is likely to decide on diversion. According to statistics, in 2017 in Russia there were 287 cases associated with in-flight medical emergencies among passengers, in 143 cases the crew decided on diversion.
European and American airlines pay great attention to pre-flight counseling of passengers, as well as their aircrafts are equipped with medical aids that allow to diagnose diseases and provide emergency assistance to the passenger. In addition, telemedicine has been successfully used in Europe and the USA.
At the end of the second day of the Congress, the participants made the decision to create specialized working groups, which will focus on bringing together Russian and international approaches in aviation medicine. It was also proposed to create a section of aviation psychologists within AMDA and hold a workshop on aviation psychology.
The third day of the Congress was held at the venue of «Central Clinical Hospital of Civil Aviation» and finished with the field session of ESAM Executive Committee meeting.
Conclusion and Outcomes
Fruitful discussions based on reports of leading experts in aviation medicine, including members of ESAM and AsMA, the representatives from CIS countries, as well as Russian leading aviation medicine practitioners, allowed to get an objective idea of the state and tendencies of the industry, similarities and differences in approaches to assessment, prevention measures, and medical provision for aviation personnel and passengers in Russia and globally.
It is the next step for the field of aviation medicine to change and harmonize the policies and approaches to medical dynamic supervision, functional diagnostics, medication treatment and aviation psychology to be aligned the latest achievements, technologies and expertise of Russian and international practices.
Each participant of the Congress received a certificate of CME
As an outcome of AMDA Congress activities, the participants established specialized committees in cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, surgery, psychology and in-flight medical provision.