Review of cardiac events in USAF aviators

Sandra Osswald, Ralph Miles, William Nixon, Paul Celio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to define the cardiac event rate in the U.S. Air force (USAF) aviator population. Methods: Several sources of information were reviewed to search for individual USAF active duty pilots and navigators who had cardiac events (defined as myocardial infarction, angina and sudden cardiac death), while on unrestricted flying duties during the years 1988-92. Sources investigated included: USAF physical disability, casualty and medical evaluation board records, and records from the Aeromedical Consultation Service at Brooks AFB, TX. Results: There were 38 total cardiac events, with an average of 7.6 events per year. Myocardial infarctions occurred in 2.3 aviators, angina in 7 and sudden death in 8. The ages ranged from 31-53 yr with an average age of 44 yr. The 5-yr average annual event rate by age group was 0.0054% (30-34 yr), 0.018% (35-39 yr), 0.038% (40-44 yr), 0.14% (45-49 yr), and 0.13% (50-54 yr). Conclusions: Although the total number of cardiac events in our aviator population is low, the cardiac event rate in the older age groups is of concern and may warrant a more intensive screening program for that population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1027
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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