PHYSIOLOGICAL PROTECTION FOR AIRCREW AT HIGH ALTITUDES: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

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Authors
  1. Goodman, L.S.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
Abstract
The greater performance characteristics of modern fighter aircraft allow attainment of extreme altitude ceilings. However, the technology of hypoxia protection for aircrew during emergency cabin decompression is only now beginning to keep pace. In fact the altitude performance of modern fighter aircraft is limited by their 1950's-generation oxygen systems. In this review paper, the basic physiology of hypoxia and reduced barometric pressure is first reviewed. The use of positive pressure breathing (PPB) for emergency hypoxia protection, sufficient to allow the pilot to maintain useful consciousness until the aircraft is rapidly descended to safe altitudes, is then discussed in a historical perspective. The gas-exchange physiology and mechanisms whereby the correction or amelioration of hypoxia is achieved are explained, followed by detailed discussion of the pulmonary and cardiovascular disruptions caused by PPB. The means whereby these are prevented, namely by thoracic counterpressurisation and G-suit inflation, are reviewed. More recently developed PPB garment technologies, specifically studies which have demonstrated improved optimisation of thoracic and G-suit counterpressurisation and PPB-syncope prevention are reviewed. Finally, a short discussion forecasting future trends in PPB garment research and development is presented.
Report Number
DCIEM-93-13 —
Date of publication
01 Apr 1993
Number of Pages
49
DSTKIM No
93-02970
CANDIS No
132405
Format(s):
Hardcopy;Originator's fiche received by DSIS;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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