Anxiety in adult fixed-wing air transport patients

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Critically ill patients may experience anxiety because of the method of transport, possibly having an impact on both patients and their health care providers. The purpose of this research was to study the presence and degree of anxiety in fixed-wing air transport patients. Methods: Subjects were 41 patients 25 to 79 years of age. Self-ratings of anxiety were obtained and vital signs were recorded at five predesignated points before, during, and after the flight. Additional questions addressed current and previous experiences and perceptions of flying. Results: Anxiety ratings were generally low, averaging approximately 1.9 on a 1 ("worry-free") to 10 ("completely terrified") scale. Anxiety was greatest in anticipation of the flight. Fourteen percent of patients had never flown before; patients with little or no flight experience had significantly higher anxiety ratings. However, in all cases anxiety declined steadily as the flight progressed. Most patients (82%) reported greater worry about their medical condition than about the flight. Conclusion: Anxiety is generally low among adult fixed-wing air transport patients and decreases further over time. This decrease was true even for patients who initially reported high levels of anxiety before the flight. The data suggest that previous flight experience can be used to predict anxiety during air medical transport.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Demmons LL; Cook EW
  • Start Page

  • 77
  • End Page

  • 80
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 3