Common critical problems
The most common complications are respiratory and ventilation problems - A and B problems (see note). Some of the patients who deteriorate in this way may suffer worsening respiratory function before departure due to stress and the hypoxic atmosphere at flight level. Others, who were extubated in hospital shortly before transport, may decompensate during the flight because they are muscularly not yet strong enough to compensate for the increased work of breathing in the hypoxic atmosphere of an aircraft.
In some patients, circulatory problems (C-problem) can occur due to bleeding or septic symptoms (although this is a rare complication as the patients have usually been cleared for transport after intensive medical examinations before departure). Where these problems occur, it makes it difficult for the medical staff to gain a routine in the diagnosis and therapy of the critically ill patient.
European Air Ambulance’s specialist nurses and doctors are not only deployed in ambulance aircraft, but also in the three rescue helicopters operated in Luxembourg and Germany by Luxembourg Air Rescue. The rescue systems in Luxembourg and Germany are designed as doctor-staffed rescue devices. In practice this means that the rescue helicopter is not only used to treat traumas, but also serves as a fast shuttle to take doctors and paramedics to the scene. The teams therefore treat a broad spectrum of patients, suffering a range of problems from the above-mentioned traumas to cardiac events such as acute coronary syndrome and neurological diseases.