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Q&A: Requirements to Renew a 3rd Class Medical After a Stroke

By Penny Giovanetti, D.O., Manager, Aerospace Medical Specialties Division
Source: FAA Safety Briefing, September/October 2017

Q. What is the process and requirements to renew a 3rd class medical after a stroke?

A. Not all strokes are created equal and certification decisions depend heavily on the type and location of the stroke, as well as recovery of nerve and cognitive function. Usually, there is a two-year waiting period before medical certification can be considered because this is the highest risk time for another stroke or stroke related seizures. We would need to review all medical records and imaging studies from the stroke event and follow up. Current thorough neurology and neuropsychology evaluations, as well as MRA or CTA of the head and neck, are required for all types of stroke. Carotid artery ultrasound, cardiovascular evaluation, and follow-up MRI or CT may be required.

Send your questions to They will be forwarded to the Aerospace Medical Certification Division, without your name, and the answer will be published in an upcoming issue of FAA Safety Briefing.

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.

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