The Characteristics of Aeromedical Transport Missions at Bangkok Hospital, Thailand

Main Article Content

Jirapat Suriyachaisawat, MD
Ekkit Surakarn, MD


OBJECTIVE: Increasing numbers of foreign tourists, expatriates, and patients seeking medical care in Thailand have resulted in a signicant increase in aeromedical transport activity, both evacua- tion and repatriation over the past decade. However, there is little epidemiological data currently available on the diagnoses, costs and transport characteristics in Thailand and Southeast Asia. We there- fore performed a descriptive analysis of evacuation and repatriation cases in order to compare helicopter and xed-wing transport in various ways such as ight time, distance and economic aspects.

MATERIALANDMETHODS: Aretrospectivereviewofmedical records of patients in 2011 evacuated or repatriated by the Aviation Medicine Department, Bangkok Hospital. Demographic informa- tion, diagnoses, modes of transport, type of aircraft, ight time and nancial detail were analyzed.

RESULT: Three hundred and two patients were included in the study, 201 male (66.5 %) and 101 female (33.5%). Patients’ ages ranged from 1 day to 105 years, the average age was 50.2 years. (Median 54 years). The top three nationalities of patients were Thai (n = 93, 30.8 %), Myanmar (n = 29, 9.6%) and British (n = 19, 6.3%). The top four diagnoses were Stroke (n = 51, 16.6%), Multiple trauma (n = 41, 13.40%), Acute myocardial infraction (AMI) (n = 30, 9.8%), Cancer (n = 27, 8.9%). Transports were carried out by air ambulance (n = 104, 34%, $202.5/min), helicopter (n = 84, 28%, $87.55/min), scheduled aircraft with regular seating (n = 60, 20%, $9.37/min) and a stretcher in a scheduled aircraft (n = 54, 18% $40.1/min).

CONCLUSION: By comparing the costs per ight time, we showed that a stretcher in a scheduled aircraft is signicantly cheaper than an air ambulance. Ideally the most appropriate medical response would be the main criteria when choosing a form of air transportation; however cost-effectiveness is also of considerable importance when selecting from the alternatives available. It is the main role of the physician who is in charge of transport planning to communicate the evaluation of mode of air medical transport.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Suriyachaisawat J, Surakarn E. The Characteristics of Aeromedical Transport Missions at Bangkok Hospital, Thailand. BKK Med J [Internet]. 2014 Sep. 20 [cited 2023 Dec. 2];6(1):12. Available from:
Original Article


1. Teichman PG, Donchin Y, Kot RJ. International aeromedical evacuation. N Engl J Med 2007;356:262-70.
2. Duchateau FX, Verner L, Cha O, et al. Decision criteria of immediate aeromedical evacuation. J Travel Med 2009;16:391-4.
3. Sand M, Bollenbach M, Sand D, et al. Epidemiology of aeromedical evacuation: an analysis of 504 cases. J Travel Med 2010;17:405-9.
4. Veldman A, Diefenbach M, Fischer D, et al. Long-distance transport of ventilated patients: advantages and limitations of air medical repatriation on commecial airlines. Air Med J 2004;23:24-8.
5. Thomas F, Wisham J, Clemmer TP, et al. Outcome, transport times, and costs of patients evacuated by helicopter versus fixed-wing aircraft. West J Med 1990; 153:40-3.
6. Aerospace Medical Association Medical Guidelines Task Force. Medical Guidelines for Airline Travel, 2nd ed. Aviat Space Environ Med 2003;74:A1-19.
7. Chen WL, Lin YM, Ma HP, et al. Predominance of neurologic diseases in international aeromedical transportation. Surg Neurol 2009;72:S47-9.