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Dad had craniotomy 8 days ago in Israel. I’m flying him in…

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Dad had craniotomy 8 days...
Dad had craniotomy 8 days ago in Israel. I’m flying him in air ambulance tomorrow to Usa. He has some air in the brain and has VP shunt which is a year old ,
Now I’m researching things and scared that the air will expand and cause increase in icp:((
Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Neurology
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Answered in 3 hours by:
12/20/2017
Neurologist: Dr Subbanna MD, Neurologist (MD) replied 2 months ago
Dr Subbanna MD
Dr Subbanna MD, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5,932
Experience: American Board Certified Neurologist, Internal Medicine
Verified

Hi Hamed, I am an American Board Certified Neurologist with vast experience in diagnosing & treating all neurological as well as all other health/medical conditions, and I am very glad to help you with your health concerns related to your dad.

I am sorry to hear about your dad’s health situation. As a Neurologist I frequently diagnose & treat this type of health situation and I can certainly help you in this regard.

I see your dad has some air in the brain after the craniotomy, and you are concerned whether his upcoming fight journey to USA tomorrow will cause any issues dor to the presence of this air.

You concerns are appropriate, because there is some issue with having air in the brain and doing flight journeys

The flights, especially long distance flights generally maintain the cabin pressure equal to an altitude of around 8000 feet above the sea level

Normally flight passengers should not have any issues with this altitude, but if someone has air in the brain then at this altitude there is a possibility the air may expand and this can cause rise in ICP (intracranial pressure) & complications due to this sudden rise in ICP, as you have also correctly found out during your research

There are some clinical studies done in this regard, and it has been found out that if the total air volume is above 11 ml then it is not safe to do flight journeys

If the air volume is less than 11 ml then it is considered safe for flight journeys

So one thing you may try to do is to talk to the radiologist who read the films of your dad, or the neurosurgeon who did the operation of your dad and ask them how much air is present in the brain, if the amount is less than 11 ml then flight journey is considered safe

And also you may try to talk to the air ambulance people and find out what cabin pressure they are going to maintain during this flight journey

While the commercial flights usually maintain the cabin pressure corresponding to about 8000 feet above sea level, but the technology has been advancing in this regard so if required some flights can maintain the cabin pressure around the sea level pressure (which is safe for your dad)

So you may find out from the air ambulance people what cabin pressure they can maintain during this flight journey, if they have technology to maintain it around sea level pressure then there is nothing to worry

If they do not have such facilities, rather they are going to maintain the cabin pressure around 8000 feet then the amount of air present in the brain will be the crucial deciding factor, as mentioned earlier above if the total volume of air in the brain is less than 11 ml then it is considered safe

So you may please talk to the air ambulance people and also talk to the radiologist and the neurosurgeon who are involved in the care of your dad and clarify on these issues that are mentioned above, so that he will not encounter any complications during his flight journey.

You may also go through this detailed article from a very authentic source and try to gather more information in this regard;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5429513/

Wishing your dad a quick & complete recovery! And also Wishing him a very safe flight journey!

All the very best!

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or if you want to discuss this further.

Assuring you the best services!

Best Regards!

Dr Subbanna MD

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