Can I take a space flight? Considerations for doctors

Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 16.38). 12/2012; 345:e8124. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e8124
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Commercial investment is bringing space tourism closer to reality. Marlene Grenon and colleagues outline what doctors will need to know Although perhaps unfamiliar with the specific physiological changes associated with commercial air travel, most physicians will have travelled by plane and many will have attended a passenger in need of medical assistance while on a commercial flight. They are, however, unlikely to have experience of space travel. Numerous commercial enterprises exist that will eventually provide competitively priced access to spaceflight experiences for paying customers. With spaceports construction under way, bookings are already taking place. Physicians can in future expect patients to ask questions and request clearance processes (such as fitness to fly certificates) for space travel as they do for commercial airplane flights today. Here, we provide some background to the field of space medicine for non-experts and point to resources for clinicians when a patient presents with requests related to space travel.

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