FAA Medical with Kidney Stones  

Getting a FAA medical with kidney stones or a history of kidney stones is possible. Depending on the circumstances of your history of kidney stones, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) may require no evaluation of your kidney function outside of discussion with your Aviation Medical Examiner. Individuals who may have experienced multiple kidney stones or have retained kidney stone(s) will need to satisfy the criteria under the FAA’s CACI program or “Conditions AMEs Can Issue” in order to be medically certified. In more complicated cases, the FAA will require your Aviation Medical Examiner (“AME”) to defer your application to the FAA for further evaluation and assessment of whether your medical history poses a risk to aviation safety.

Perhaps the simplest of circumstances when trying to achieve a FAA medical with kidney stones are those in which the most recent kidney stone event occurred more than five (5) years ago. In these cases, the FAA has authorized AMEs to issue the FAA medical certificate, so long as there are no ongoing symptoms or current problems. Likewise, if an applicant has passed a single kidney stone within the past five (5) years and there are no retained stones, the FAA has authorized AMEs to issue the FAA medical certificate.

For applicants with retained kidney stones, being issued a FAA medical certificate requires a bit more effort. Specifically, applicants applying for a FAA medical with retained kidney stones must comply with the FAA’s CACI criteria for issuance. Specifically, the CACI program requires that the applicant’s AME review a detailed, clinical progress note from the applicant’s treating physician which identifies various data. The AME must review the treating physician’s note, which should verify that the kidney stone(s) are asymptomatic, stable, unlikely to cause an incapacitating event, and discuss any surgeries or complications. The AME should also assess whether there is an underlying cause for stone recurrence and evaluate the treatment plan in place. Applicants who require a CACI for retained kidney stones must provide a detailed, clinical progress note from a treating physician every year for first- and second- class, FAA medical certificates. Applicants applying for a third-class, FAA medical certificate need only provide a note from the treating physician at the time of every application.

In more complicated cases, where an applicant has clinical complications, the condition is symptomatic, or there is an underlying cause for the recurrent kidney stones, the FAA will require a more detailed note from the applicant’s treating physician, to include copies of imaging, if available. Your application for FAA medical certification will be deferred. It is likely that in these cases, the applicant will be issued a special issuance authorization and require more detailed follow-up with the FAA for continued medical certification.

Here are some tips when considering your FAA medical with kidney stones:

  • If you are applying for your first FAA medical with kidney stones, you should plan for your treating physician to provide a detailed, clinical progress note prior to seeing your AME for exam. Even in cases where your kidney stone(s) may have occurred five (5) years or more prior to your AME exam, having a document from your doctor will help your AME better understand your history and help avoid a deferral (in the case of uncertainty by your AME).
  • If your AME issues to you a medical certificate, keep in mind that the FAA may still follow up with you via letter and inquire regarding your history to confirm that you meet eligibility criteria to hold your FAA medical certificate.
  • If you have a history of retained kidney stones, make sure that you obtain a detailed, clinical progress note from your treating physician at the appropriate intervals, based upon which class FAA medical certificate you hold. Sometimes, providing a current “kidney, ureter, and bladder” x-ray, or “KUB,” can help give your treating physician, your AME, and the FAA more clarity on the status of your condition.
  • If you have a more complex history of kidney stone(s), prepare for a deferral by your AME and anticipate the FAA requiring documentation regarding your history of kidney stone(s), as well as any underlying conditions causing your kidney stone(s). It is always important that when faced with a FAA deferral, you gather and review all of your medical records to ensure you understand what your doctors have included in your medical history. When reviewing your medical records, the FAA will look at anything and everything – their review of the records you submit will not be limited to your kidney stone(s). It is always advisable to plan ahead and address any concerns the FAA may have with respect to the entirety of your medical records.
  • Check out our episode on The Pilot Lawyer Podcast about getting your FAA medical with kidney stones.

If you are facing a FAA medical with kidney stones, consider a consultation with a FAA medical defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm before applying for a FAA medical certificate. We are happy to evaluate your case and discuss with you a plan for presenting your case to your AME or the FAA. Aviation law is all we do. Nothing else.

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