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Abdominal sonography in the medical evaluation of aviation aspirants

, : Abdominal sonography in the medical evaluation of aviation aspirants. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 81(10): 965-969

Ultrasonography is increasingly used in elderly individuals for screening of occult malignancy and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Its utility as a screening tool in healthy asymptomatic individuals is not yet established. The current study was undertaken to evaluate the utility of abdominal and pelvic ultrasonographic screening as an adjunct to routine physical examination among young adults undergoing initial medical examination for aviation duties. Abdominal ultrasound findings of 2598 candidates (2339 men, 259 women, mean age 20.3 +/- 1.8 yr) reporting for initial aircrew medical examination between January 2004 and December 2006 at two established medical evaluation centers were analyzed. Of the candidates, 90% (N=2339) screened were for cockpit aircrew duties. Sonographic abnormalities were noted in 6.0% of candidates. These included fatty infiltration of the liver in 2.9%, renal abnormalities in 1.57%, gallstones in 0.34%, and splenomegaly in 0.30%. Of the 259 female candidates, 7 were noted to have pelvic abnormalities which included ovarian cyst in 5, and uterine agenesis and fibroid uterus in 1 each. Of the aircrew who had abnormal findings on the initial ultrasonography, 71% required further testing. Based on the ultrasound findings 10 candidates were declared permanently unfit, 39 candidates were declared temporarily unfit, and the remaining were found fit for aviation duties. Abdominal sonographic screening in young healthy asymptomatic aircrew may be a valuable extension of the initial medical evaluation. It is particularly important in the high-risk subgroup of military aviators for determining long-term career prospects.


PMID: 20922890

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