1. General research question:”what is the state of knowledge regarding cardiovascular risk factors and age with respect to airline pilots?”
2. Specific research questions:
– What is the state of knowledge regarding CV disease and age?
– What is the state of knowledge regarding CV disease and airline pilots?
– What is the state of knowledge regarding CV disease and age in airline pilots?
The objective s of this study, are:
1. To perform a literature search of the factors that contribute to cardiovascular risk and the links between this risk and actual cardiac events ,and then to review this material critically.
2. To assess the current available data from the sickness reporting of any occurrence of any cardiac events amongst different age groups of airline pilots , correlating the incidence of the event with the pilot’s risk factors and assess and analyse these correlation .
3.4. What is the scientific justification for the research? What is the background? Why is this an
area of importance / has any similar research been done? (Must be in language comprehensible to a lay person.)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced a new policy in 2007 allowing pilots over the age of 60 to continue their flying carrier .The UAE was one of the counties which adopted the new policy and allowed Commercial pilots to fly beyond their 60th birthday, and there has been no adverse effect upon flight safety since its implementation on the UAE aviation industry and it was observed that the number of pilots who are retaining their license after the age of 60 has been increased significantly since the introduction of the new policy, thanks to the rapid expansion in the national airlines and the increase demand for experienced and qualified pilots to operate their aircrafts .
The ICAO implementation policy require some limitations and conditions when licensing pilot over the age of 60 , such as validity of the medical certificate should be reduced to 6 months only instead of 12 months , and the pilots should fly only with another qualified pilot on the same aircraft flown and the other pilots should be less than 60 year old. ICAO didn’t set extra medical tests requirements for assessing over 60 pilots , and it was left to the regulatory authority for each country to set the extra medical tests for over 60 pilots to confirm their fitness. The licensing authority of General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in the UAE selected a proactive approach in addressing the medical conditions which are increased by age such as cardiovascular events, neurological events and cognitive functions.; and for this a set of new protocols were established to screen those medical conditions . Of particular concern over the extra tests required by licensing authority are the cardiac investigations, such as stress Electrocardiography( ECG) and three monthly blood tests; to detect early signs of cardiac abnormalities and to control and treat the modifiable Cardiac risk factors such as abnormal lipids and sugar.
A lot of opposing opinions and concerns were raised in the UAE aviation sector of whether the new medical protocol was unnecessarily stringent for licensing over 60s pilots. This included concerns regarding the cost of the extra medical tests, the validity and reliability of these extra tests as regards detection of cardiac events .These opposing opinions were supported by the fact that the medical incapacitation was not attributed alone of causing any accident in aviation history.
Also during the first 5 years post-implementation of the new policy there were no adverse effects on flight safety amongst pilots over 60 who continued to fly
After discussion which have taken place with the help of the ethical committee, which have highlighted the very large numbers required for the field study, and that as a precursor to any field study the value of reviewing the literature was recognised.
The proposal was amended to perform a literature search of the factors that contribute to cardiovascular risk and the links between this risk and actual cardiac events , then to review this material critically ,and to assess the current available data from the sickness reporting of any occurrence of any cardiac events amongst different age groups of airline pilots , correlating the incidence of the event with the pilot’s risk factors and assess and analyse these correlation . And provide practical issues involved .