ECG and telemedicine on Lufthansa long-haul flights

ECG at an altitude of 10,000 metres/photo: Lufthansa

With immediate effect all Lufthansa long-haul flights are equipped with the mobile “ECG system CardioSecur”. The system enables flight attendants to record an ECG in medical emergencies without cardiological expertise, which is sent directly to a medical hotline on the ground for diagnosis.

In 2018 – initially tested on the A380 fleet – the system will be available immediately on all long-haul aircraft for medical emergencies. According to Sven-Karsten Peters, cardiologist from Lufthansa’s Medical Service, the data from the resting ECG directly from the aircraft would provide a much better basis for deciding whether an alternate landing for medical care on the ground is necessary in the event of medical emergencies on board.

Cardiovascular complaints are the most frequent cause of medical incidents on board. If doctors are on board, they have so far been able to use the defibrillator as an aid to obtaining a better assessment. However, the values determined in this way do not replace an ECG.

The mobile ECG system CardioSecur only weighs 50 grams and consists of an app on the cabin mobile device (iPad mini) of the flight attendants as well as a small bag with ECG cable and four disposable electrodes. If a passenger complains of heart problems, the system records an ECG in just a few steps: First, the flight attendant establishes an Internet connection via WLAN over the FlyNet network with the Cabin Mobile Device and then launches the app. The crew then connects the ECG cable to the four electrodes and places them on the patient’s upper body. The app records a twelve-channel ECG. Further parameters such as age, weight, sex, blood pressure and oxygen saturation can be recorded manually.

Fast and accurate data transmission via FlyNet to International SOS

These data are transmitted via the app to the medical hotline of “International SOS” (ISOS). The Lufthansa contract partner can be contacted around the clock by pilots and pursers for medical questions. ISOS evaluates the ECG and advises the cockpit crew on the basis of the data when exchanging it over the phone. If there is a doctor on board among the passengers, he or she can also use the expert mode in the app to monitor cardiac activity.

In the event of a medical emergency, the cabin crew can use the existing “Doctor on board” program to quickly identify the doctors on board, including their specialty. More than 11,000 doctors from all disciplines are currently taking part in the programme run by Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss to help with medical incidents. To this end, an optimally equipped emergency case and other material are available on board. The crew is also well prepared for emergencies and is trained annually in first aid.

In cooperation with the service provider “Medical Travel Companion”, Lufthansa is now also offering a medical escort service. Passengers can choose to book a nurse, a paramedic or a doctor to take care of them on the entire flight. This makes the airline the first in Europe to offer this service.

Leading in Health & Medical

For more than 20 years, Lufthansa has been the only scheduled airline to offer intercontinental intensive transport services: The Lufthansa Patient Transport Compartment (PTC) is available to repatriate sick persons or transport patients who require intensive medical care. This high-tech product is a kind of “flying intensive care unit” that combines state-of-the-art technology, competent specialists and efficient processes with the comfort and safety of a closed intensive care unit.

Source: Lufthansa Group

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