Laboratory and flight tests of medical equipment for use in U.S. Army Medevac helicopters

Air Med J. 1993 Mar;1(3):51-6. doi: 10.1016/s1067-991x(05)80198-1.


When used in an air medical setting, medical equipment designed for use in hospitals can fail from the stresses of in-flight use, or they interfere with critical rotor-wing aircraft systems. From January 1989 to June 1992, 34 medical devices, including monitor/defibrillators, infusion pumps, vital-signs monitors, ventilators and infant transport incubators, were tested under extreme conditions of temperature, humidity, altitude and vibration (MIL-STD 810D). Electromagnetic emissions and susceptibility were measured (MIL-STD 461C and 462), and human factors were evaluated. The devices were flight tested in a UH-60 MEDEVAC helicopter. Thirty-two percent of the medical devices failed at least one environmental test, and 91% of the devices failed to meet electromagnetic interference standards. Failures included excess conducted and radiated emissions and susceptibility to radiated emissions. Five (15%) of the devices were judged unsuitable for use in the UH-60 MEDEVAC helicopter. Testing is critical to discover the ability of a medical device to perform in the harsh rotor-wing MEDEVAC environment. Failure of a device or interference with aircraft systems can result in loss of a patient or aircrew.

MeSH terms

  • Aircraft / instrumentation*
  • Alabama
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Environment
  • Equipment Failure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Equipment and Supplies / standards
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Military Medicine / organization & administration*