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Case Reports in Anesthesiology
Volume 2017, Article ID 3210473, 5 pages
Case Report

In-Flight Hypoxemia in a Tracheostomy-Dependent Infant

Department of Anesthesiology, Educational Affairs, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2301 VUH, Nashville, TN 37232-7237, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jason Quevreaux; ude.tlibrednav@xuaerveuq.m.nosaj

Received 16 November 2016; Revised 14 January 2017; Accepted 16 February 2017; Published 28 February 2017

Academic Editor: Richard Riley

Copyright © 2017 Jason Quevreaux and Christopher Cropsey. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Millions of passengers board commercial flights every year. Healthcare providers are often called upon to treat other passengers during in-flight emergencies. The case presented involves an anesthesia resident treating a tracheostomy-dependent infant who developed hypoxemia on a domestic flight. The patient had an underlying congenital muscular disorder and was mechanically ventilated while at altitude. Although pressurized, cabin barometric pressure while at altitude is less than at sea level. Due to this environment patients with underlying pulmonary or cardiac pathology might not be able to tolerate commercial flight. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has mandated a specific set of medical supplies be present on all domestic flights in addition to legislature protecting “Good Samaritan” providers.