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Q&A: Kidney Stones

Source: www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing, By Penny Giovanetti, D.O. Manager, Aerospace Medical Specialties Division

Q. I passed a kidney stone in 2013 and the CT scan showed four retained stones. In 2015, I saw a urologist and I still had those four retained stones. They are all smaller than 5 mm and so, as I have read, they are more likely to pass on their own. What are my chances of being able to fly again while I have stones, or do I have to wait for them all to pass?

A. Your chances are good. In many cases you do not have to wait for all of the stones to pass. Since your kidney stones were within the last five years, we will need a letter from your urologist. This letter should contain specific information used to assess your risk. Just Google “AME Guide,” then select “CACI Certification Worksheets.” You should bring a copy of this worksheet to your urologist so he or she understands what specific details need to be in the letter to the FAA. Once you have this letter, bring it to your AME appointment. Depending on the clinical information, your AME may be able to issue a medical certificate, or you may need to be considered for special issuance.

Penny Giovanetti, D.O., received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a master’s in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine from the University of Iowa and a doctorate from Des Moines University. She completed a 27-year career as an Air Force flight surgeon. She is board certified in aerospace medicine, occupational medicine, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. She is also a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and a private pilot.