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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul-Aug

Air Med J



New-Onset Transient Global Amnesia: A Clinical Challenge in an Air Medical Transportation Pilot With a History of Coronavirus Disease 2019.


A 43-year-old male Bell 214C helicopter pilot presented to the emergency ward with flu-like syndrome. His nasopharyngeal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 real-time polymerase chain reaction test was positive, and a chest computed tomographic scan confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia. He was admitted, received treatment, was discharged, and returned to flying. During the mission debrief, copilots who had flown with him reported that he experienced episodes of in-flight dizziness and blacked out. They occurred briefly during the cruise and hovering flight, perhaps for a few seconds of disorientation and unconsciousness. Rapid identification of the copilot and control of the helicopter prevented any incident or accident. Afterward, he explained the sudden onset and unexpected brief periods of loss of consciousness after a headache. The flight safety office referred him to the aviation medical center for further investigations. The cardiovascular, neurologic, laboratory, and toxicologic assessments were inconclusive with the approach to sudden-onset transient loss of consciousness. The only abnormal finding was hippocampus lesions on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Because of the possible diagnosis of transient global amnesia, the aviation medical examiner suspended him from flight duties until complete recovery and the absence of any probable complications.