Clinical, Logistical and Coordination Extremes VA ECLS with IABP Aeromedical transport: An Australasian first

Mr Ben Stanton1

1Medstar, Brooklyn Park, Australia

Purpose of the Presentation

To discuss the major issues and solutions to an extremely challenging interstate aeromedical transfer of a critically ill male patient supported with both an Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP) and Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS) by MedSTAR from Adelaide, South Australia to Melbourne, Victoria.

Scope of the Topic

This presentation will explore the logistical, technical (including crew mix), coordination and specific aviation and clinical issues identified with this critically ill patient aeromedical transfer on a Pilatus PC12 aircraft.

Issues identified

As this was the first time a patient on both an IABP and ECLS was transported by our service and also we believe the first time within Australasia, a number of critical issues were identified and had to be overcome with the use of adaptability, effective communication with relevant stakeholders, resourcefulness and clinical experience. These issues will be discussed, as well as airframe capability for the clinical equipment, clinical team configuration, and coordination discussions and decisions between MedSTAR’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) ICU and The Alfred Hospital ICU clinical teams.


The transfer ultimately was uneventful due to the extensive planning and the coordinated efforts of all the stakeholders concerned over the previous 24 hours. Following on from this mission several deficiencies in our overall operational capability had been identified and addressed. These included aircraft EMI testing and EO’s for all equipment and the development of a dedicated transport bracket system to enable the ECLS console to be secured in any transport platform with compatible tracking systems within SA, including equipment forecasting for new aeromedical assets (e.g. Pilatus PC24).


Ben Stanton is a registered Nurse Practitioner specialising in aeromedical retrieval & transport, currently employed by the South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval Service in Adelaide, South Australia (SA). He is passionate about the nurse’s leadership role in the management and transportation of the critically ill patient, either in the pre-hospital and inter-hospital space. He is also an active member of AusMAT, the medical disaster response team for the Commonwealth of Australia and is a specialist reserve member of the Royal Australian Air (RAAF) specialising in the transportation of the critically ill & injured.

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