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Military Aircrew and Heart Murmur

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Military Aircrew and Heart Murmur

Old 27th Apr 2016, 16:20
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NDW
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Military Aircrew and Heart Murmur

Good afternoon all,

Whilst having a Armed Forces med today with my local AFCO AME; it was noticed that I have a audible Heart Murmur.
I was obviously shocked (and slightly disappointed and upset) upon hearing this news and I was made TMU until further investigations are made.

I appreciate that some may not be medically qualified to answer (and I am in the process of having ECG's and Echocardiagram done and my AFCO has been informed) what are the chances that all being well and nothing found to be sinister that I will be able to continue with a career in Mil Av.

Overall; I'm glad this has been discovered but as mentioned - I'm gutted and disappointed - just hoping it doesn't hamper my application or future.

Best regards.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 16:45
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NDW.

If everything is found to be normal then all is well. If you do indeed have a heart murmur then, based on the rules from when I went through OASC in 1999, I'm afraid the news is not good.

Bear in mind I'm not a doctor and I can't swear that my information is bang up to date but you should be prepared for either eventuality.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings and I hope that everything turns out fine. If you are suitable in all other areas and then miss out because of a hitherto unknown medical complaint it is a bitter pill to swallow.

All the best and others may be able to amplify my points further.

BV
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 17:10
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I am not a doctor or military pilot but I have lived with a heart murmur for many years. My doctor has assured me that it has no medical consequences whatsoever. It has never been an issue in Class 2 medicals for my PPL and I am still capable of passing that at 76. That, of course, may not be relevant for the stricter requirements for the military.

When it comes to travel insurance, most companies exclude it but my doctor assures me that he would support my claim if any company refused to pay out for any other problems associated with the heart e.g. heart attack.

Best of luck.

p1
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 17:11
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My medical advisor asks what level of sustained activity you have maintained, for instance arduous activity like climbing with a Bergan. Can you hear your heart thumping?

However I was assessed with a myocardial infarction, rushed to hospital, and walked out 30 minutes later; that was 30 years ago.

A doctor is not always right; wait for the second opinion.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 17:19
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"If you do indeed have a heart murmur then, based on the rules from when I went through OASC in 1999, I'm afraid the news is not good. " - Incorrect.

"A doctor is not always right; wait for the second opinion. " - In this case, the doctor is correct and is following the AP.

A murmur is just an extra sound produced by the heart - it could be casued by a number of things, some of which are no cause for concern.

On auscultation, many candidates have a cardiac systolic murmur, usually of the characteristic ‘physiological’ type. Candidates for aircrew, Aircraft control duties must be referred for specialist opinion.

Chances are it's an innocent murmur and nothing to worry about.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 17:39
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VP.

As I quite clearly said and you directly quoted. I was saying how it was in '99 and also said it may not be correct now. That's not wrong. Several people who went through selection at the time were denied entry based on heart murmurs. If things have changed and a second opinion can help then that's excellent news.

Let's all hope for a positive outcome.

BV
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 17:57
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VigilantPilot time for a new screen name surely?
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 18:02
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Many years ago, I was having a routine ECG as part of the medical, when it picked up an abnormality. I was thinking the worst, when the nurse opened the door and said "Ethel, turn the Hoover off a minute". All returned to normal. Hope the second opinion shows all is OK. Good luck.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 18:09
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Originally Posted by VigilantPilot View Post
"A doctor is not always right; wait for the second opinion. " - In this case, the doctor is correct and is following the AP.

. Candidates for aircrew, Aircraft control duties must be referred for specialist opinion.
We agree, you said it. If a doctor is always right then no need for a specialist opinion.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 18:24
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NDW

I was found to have a heart murmur and after a visit to a very nice Gp Capt Cardiologist at Peterborough Hospital, was told after an ECG that it was "innocent", very common, and to forget all about it. So the chances are that you will be fine. Good luck.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 18:43
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No guarantees this will be the case for you, hope so, but on one PME, Junior doc heard a "murmur" and made arrangements for a scan at Peterborough. That's it thought I, end of flying career or worse as no one discussed the possibilities with me. Anyway, scan and follow up with specialist diagnosed JMO's hearing at fault and during subsequent appointment with SMO, he said it was quite common to falsely diagnose "murmurs".

Fingers crossed for you NDW.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 19:26
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I think there's a misunderstanding here of what a murmur is...it's just an extra sound heard through the stethoscope. You could join with a heart murmur back in the nineties as long as it's cause was benign/innocent. A good proportion of the population have noisy valves...as an example...MVP is common in particular if you are of lean/thin/tall build.

So, there's no misdiagnosis going on. The OP does have a murmur and the doctor needs to send the OP to a cardiologist for an echocardiogram to find out the underlying cause and chances are he'll be fine.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 19:39
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VP.

You're right. I'm wrong. Bored now.

BV
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 20:10
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Pointless thread is pointless.

No one on here will have the answer unless they can see the OPs medical records and the results of the tests.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 20:12
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I had a heart murmur detected during my annual aircrew medical one year, cue downgrade in med cat and a few months waiting for an echocardiogram at Haslar etc. before everything was confirmed as being nothing to worry about and getting my med cat back.
Went for my CAA Class 1 medical, had the usual checks including an electrocradiogram, Doc looked at the trace for 30 seconds, said 'that's nothing to worry about' and signed me off.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 20:58
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This may sound frivolous, but it isn't meant that way.

Our 'rescue cat' from the local Animals' Shelter has a heart murmur. Over the last 5-6 years she has bounded around happily, and it seems her murmur is actually diminishing. She's certainly not called "Storm" for no reason - 100% is her standard mode of operation.

The problem will be the Doc who does the final assessment. Good luck!
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 23:33
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MPN11 - ditto my 9 year old dog. However, I think local vet and specialist at La Rochelle are in cahoots, and want us to take him for echocardiograph every 6 mths, at €160 a pop. I think we will wait until he slows down a bit!
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 02:28
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BV, you're definitely wrong! Me - OASC 1998, heart murmur discovered by locum who told me there and then it was curtains for my flying ambitions, panic, allowed to complete part 2 of selection anyway, summoned by Gp Capt OASC before leaving for instant decision that I would be offered a pilot slot pending outcome of further medicals, referred to Peterborough, six weeks' anxious waiting (made considerably less stressful by thoughtful action of aforementioned gp capt), declared benign on the spot by cardiologist, many happy years of fast jet flying. Annual medicals have fallen fairly evenly into three categories - 1) doc has read the notes and mentions the murmur before examination; 2) doc surprised by hearing the murmur and referred by me to the notes; 3) doc doesn't mention it at all. Whether the latter meant they didn't hear it, or had read the notes and didn't mention it, I wouldn't know! But the bottom line is that it was not, and is not, a definite end to hopes of a military flying career until it has been assessed as such by a cardiologist.

While on the subject of heart complaints, there was an episode a few years ago at a remote northern station during which, over the course of several months, a not insignificant number of aircrew were grounded and sent for cardiological assessment after their routine ECGs uncovered the development of a potentially terminal (for flying, at any rate) heart condition. Each missed out on several weeks' flying before receiving a clean bill of health. No-one at the unnamed station seemed to think this at all odd. The cardiologist, however, started to wonder why he was seeing so many patients referred with this unusual condition who then presented with no symptoms whatsoever. On looking at the records of these individuals, he realised that they had all come from the same unnamed station, and on further investigation he realised that this one station had, in a few months, already referred more cases of the condition from within a previously well-screened group of aircrew than would be expected in one year in the entire UK population. A phone call to the SMO followed, and it was soon established that the station's ECG machine had been experiencing an insidious intermittent fault for months without (apparently) ever arousing suspicion among the medical staff. Whether or not this was due to the ineptitude of one particular nurse in using it was never revealed. Again the takeaway is not to put much stock in a GP's assessment of matters cardiological.

Last edited by Easy Street; 28th Apr 2016 at 03:21.
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 08:30
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ES, maybe they had served in Lincolnshire previously. In my case it was so severe I was seen within the week.
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 13:50
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All;

Thank you very much for your responses and it has brought me some hope.

I'm certainly going to persevere and get a 2nd opinion and a visit to the Cardiologist. I'm contemplating going private in order hopefully cut a significant portion of the potential eight month delay which was initially briefed to me by the AME.

I'll keep you all informed.

Again, thank you for your kind comments.

Kindest regards,

NDW
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