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Medical flights - Breaking the limits


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For the first time in the aviation history: a patient was transported for urgent cardiac transplantation in a Trans Atlantic commercial flight with a cardiac assist device.
Medical flights - Breaking the limits
An adult patient, with a medical history of cardiac disease and a first cardiac transplantation was admitted in a Medical center near Tel Aviv for severe cardiac failure due to acute rejection.

A complex and aggressive treatment was started in order to keep the patient alive.

The decision to performed a re-transplantation was rapidly take as the patient was in deep state of shock leading to other organs failure. Unfortunately, the chances for re-transplantation in Israel where very few due to the shortage of organs, blood group and antibodies developed by the patient.

So despite the unstable conditions of this patient: under mechanical ventilation, together with high doses of continuous intra venous drugs and cardiac support with an intra aortic balloon pump (a device inserted in the Aorta of the patient, increasing the blood pressure and the cardiac function), the treating doctors together with the patient’s family  decided to take a last chance: moving the patient to the United State where the chance of rapid transplantation are significantly better.

After cautious technical testing of the electric device’s compatibly (in order not to jeopardize the security of the commercial flight) with EL AL engineering, the patient was safely transported from Tel Aviv to New York (12 hours flight!) and then to Texas with a private jet. During the flight the patient received all the complex treatment keeping him alive, provided by an ICU team (ICU specialist MD and nurse with a cardiologist and Paramedic).

He was successfully transplanted few days after. After a short rehabilitation in the US, he flies back to Israel in a normal sitting position as a regular passenger!!
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