Aeromedical Evacuation of Cardiothoracic Casualties
Cardiothoracic trauma carries a high mortality rate and often requires emergency surgery for survival. Injuries to the lungs and heart can result in massive blood loss and often require surgical treatment. These patients present unique challenges in their care, both before and after surgery. Elective aeromedical evacuation (AE) should be delayed until the patient is well into the convalescent phase of recovery. Urgent AE can be undertaken within hours of most thoracotomies, but such patients require the expertise and equipment of a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) in most cases. This chapter will address common cardiothoracic injuries, their sequelae, and management during elective and urgent AE.