The critical care air transport program


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Abstract

Background:The critical care air transport team program is a component of the U.S. Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation system. A critical care air transport team consists of a critical care physician, critical care nurse, and respiratory therapist along with the supplies and equipment to operate a portable intensive care unit within a cargo aircraft.Discussion:This capability was developed to support rapidly mobile surgical teams with high capability for damage control resuscitation and limited capacity for postresuscitation care. The critical care air transport team permits rapid evacuation of stabilizing casualties to a higher level of care. The aeromedical environment presents important challenges for the delivery of critical care. All equipment must be tested for safety and effectiveness in this environment before use in flight. The team members must integrate the current standards of care with the limitation imposed by stresses of flight on their patient.Summary:The critical care air transport team capability has been used successfully in a range of settings from transport within the United States, to disaster response, to support of casualties in combat.

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