Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2021 Oct 1;92(10):831-834. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.5898.2021.
INTRODUCTION: Military aviators are likely to be first diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) during military service. Current recommendations support continuing flying with restrictions, but risks may be significant. The aim of the study was to document the long-term results of aviators newly diagnosed with IBD. METHODS: A prospective observational study over a 23-yr period included all Israeli Air Force (IAF) aviators with IBD. Primary end point was the qualification and safety to continue operational flying following IBD diagnosis. RESULTS: Subjects were 16 male aviators with an average follow-up of 130 mo. Average age was 27 (2045) and average time from symptoms onset to final diagnosis was 7.3 mo. Eight (50%) patients had Crohns disease (CD), and the other eight had ulcerative colitis (UC). Eight (50%) were high performance platform aviators. Two patients received biologic treatment, two were treated with repeated corticosteroid courses, and four with immunosuppressive therapy. Two patients underwent surgery and four needed different lengths of hospitalizations. Eight (50%) aviators (3 CD, 5 UC) were grounded for a mean of 177 d (5590). Altogether grounding for IBD aviators was 46/2087 mo (2.2%). Most grounding periods were short term and reversible. All aviators continued flying under annual monitoring or as needed and no compromise of their abilities was documented. CONCLUSIONS: All aviators were able to continue flying and no events of sudden incapacitation or severe disabling flares have been seen among patients. Our study findings support the current recommendation to continue flying when IBD is in stable remission. Tehori O, Koslowsky B, Gabbai D, Shapira S, Ben-Ari O. Military aviators with inflammatory bowel diseases continued flying. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2021; 92(10):831834.
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