Maj (Dr.) Iain Parsons - Reducing reflex syncope in the UK Armed Forces by exploiting human physiology

September 12, 2019

Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Time: 2:45pm

Location: BPK Seminar Room (K9624)

Affiliation: King's College London

Host: Dr. Victoria Claydon

Abstract: Over a third of individuals will suffer a syncopal event in their lifetimes with peak incidence being at a young age. Syncope in the Armed Forces is common, with a reported incidence of 7.2 per 1000 person-years, causing 10% of all medical admissions to deployed secondary healthcare on recent operational deployments. The military environment exposes soldiers to significant risk factors for reflex syncope namely orthostatic stress, heat stress and exertion. Treatment with cardiac pacing or medications would result in occupational limitations on service personnel and physical counter manoeuvres are inappropriate in the military environment.  Potential methods of decreasing syncopal episodes is by increasing plasma volume and/or improving venous return. This presentation will discuss ways of achieving this, measuring the effect and translating the research into clinical practice. 

Biography: Major Iain Parsons joined the British Army in 2006, following the award of Medical Cadetship, commissioning as a Second Lieutenant. He  graduated in Medicine in 2009 from the University of Warwick having completed a BSc (hons) in Physiology. He completed Foundation Training (Internship) in Birmingham, England before promoting to Captain and attending the Professionally Qualified Officers commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2011. Upon completing the Post Graduate Medical Officer’s Course and a Post Graduate Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophes he took up post as the Regimental Medical Officer of 2 Signal Regiment. 

He deployed to Afghanistan on Op HERRICK as the Officer Commanding the High Readiness Troop; a team deployed at short-notice to the Area of Operations in order to provide a response to mass casualties, critical incidents, triage and effective pre-hospital emergency care. He built an entirely new Medical Treatment Facility in a small base in the Nar-e-Saraj district of Helmand Province for a Forward Recce Platoon. This included the provision of 24 hour Pre-Hospital Emergency Care, General Practice, Occupational Medicine, Clinical Governance as well as writing Major Medical Incident Plans, sourcing medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, medicines management, whilst providing health advice to the chain of command. In April 2014 Maj Parsons deployed again to Kenya where, in partnership with the Kenyan National Defence Forces, he provided primary care to Kenyan civilians in austere environments.

Maj Parsons started his specialist training in General Medicine in 2013 at the Chelsea and Westminster and Royal Brompton Hospitals in London and following completing Post Graduate Training in Medical Education became a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. In 2015 he obtained a training number in Cardiology on the South London rotation. In 2018 he started a clinical PhD at King’s College London on Syncope in the UK Armed Forces.