open access

Vol 68, No 4 (2017)
Original article
Published online: 2017-12-22
Submitted: 2017-10-16
Accepted: 2017-12-08
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Overall comparative analysis of management and outcomes of cardiac cases reported on board merchant ships

Charalampos Apostolatos, Vivian Andria, Julie Licari
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2017.0036
·
Pubmed: 29297569
·
International Maritime Health 2017;68(4):190-195.

open access

Vol 68, No 4 (2017)
MARITIME TELEMEDICINE Original articles
Published online: 2017-12-22
Submitted: 2017-10-16
Accepted: 2017-12-08

Abstract

Background: Telemedical assistance has always been the cornerstone of medical care on board. Significant technological progress has provided improved scientific tools and equipment for high-quality communication and prompt management of either minor incidents or major emergencies on board. Med Solutions International is a medical management company, offering services exclusively to the maritime industry. Registered vessels contact the medical team and healthcare professionals provide immediate guidelines for onboard management as well as necessary action thereafter, i.e. examination ashore or urgent medical evacuation. Since cardiac conditions or diseases are potentially the most dangerous when traveling at sea, it is of major importance to analyse and evaluate the overall management and outcomes of cases reporting symptoms of possible heart disease so as to improve telemedical assistance services in future. Materials and methods: The study included cases reporting cardiac symptoms from 5 major shipping companies during the year 2016. Data was collected from telecommunication, emails and seafarers’ final medical reports. A descriptive analysis of overall management and outcomes was performed. Results: The study showed that the number of confirmed cardiovascular cases on board was very low. Among 551 total cases and 44 cases with reported cardiac symptoms there was only one heart attack, one pulmonary oedema and one suspected myocarditis. In the majority of cases, chest pain was musculoskeletal or due to respiratory infection. Symptoms resulting from issues such as stress or anxiety often present as potential cardiac conditions. Stress may also amplify the severity of symptoms. Language barriers between the seafarer, the master and the doctor often make communication very difficult. Conclusions: According to our findings there are grounds to intensify the prevention process through more efficient pre-employment medical examinations and improve management on board through more intensive training. Communication problems often complicate medical management on board. Effective communication and knowledge of patient’s medical history and risk profile is very important to reviewing physician. Effective diagnosis depends on accurate and objective description of symptoms and clinical condition.

Abstract

Background: Telemedical assistance has always been the cornerstone of medical care on board. Significant technological progress has provided improved scientific tools and equipment for high-quality communication and prompt management of either minor incidents or major emergencies on board. Med Solutions International is a medical management company, offering services exclusively to the maritime industry. Registered vessels contact the medical team and healthcare professionals provide immediate guidelines for onboard management as well as necessary action thereafter, i.e. examination ashore or urgent medical evacuation. Since cardiac conditions or diseases are potentially the most dangerous when traveling at sea, it is of major importance to analyse and evaluate the overall management and outcomes of cases reporting symptoms of possible heart disease so as to improve telemedical assistance services in future. Materials and methods: The study included cases reporting cardiac symptoms from 5 major shipping companies during the year 2016. Data was collected from telecommunication, emails and seafarers’ final medical reports. A descriptive analysis of overall management and outcomes was performed. Results: The study showed that the number of confirmed cardiovascular cases on board was very low. Among 551 total cases and 44 cases with reported cardiac symptoms there was only one heart attack, one pulmonary oedema and one suspected myocarditis. In the majority of cases, chest pain was musculoskeletal or due to respiratory infection. Symptoms resulting from issues such as stress or anxiety often present as potential cardiac conditions. Stress may also amplify the severity of symptoms. Language barriers between the seafarer, the master and the doctor often make communication very difficult. Conclusions: According to our findings there are grounds to intensify the prevention process through more efficient pre-employment medical examinations and improve management on board through more intensive training. Communication problems often complicate medical management on board. Effective communication and knowledge of patient’s medical history and risk profile is very important to reviewing physician. Effective diagnosis depends on accurate and objective description of symptoms and clinical condition.
Get Citation

Keywords

merchant ships, tele-medical assistance, cardiac cases, cardiovascular disease

About this article
Title

Overall comparative analysis of management and outcomes of cardiac cases reported on board merchant ships

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 68, No 4 (2017)

Article type

Original article

Pages

190-195

Published online

2017-12-22

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2017.0036

Pubmed

29297569

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2017;68(4):190-195.

Keywords

merchant ships
tele-medical assistance
cardiac cases
cardiovascular disease

Authors

Charalampos Apostolatos
Vivian Andria
Julie Licari

References (12)
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