Military Medical Standards For The Heart - Enlistment Or Appointment

Heart and Vascular System

The Heart
••• .mil

There are obvious disqualifications for military service when it comes to one of the two most important organs in the body: the brain and the heart.  Undiagnosed heart issues have caused military members to die in training when under significant physical or mental stress.  Many of the following disqualifying medical conditions are written due to the loss of someone serving or other medical histories that typically require similar heart and vascular abilities to be able to perform at certain levels of exertion.


The human heart is about the size of a person’s fist and pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body to sustain life. Any defects in this ability will seriously affect a military person’s ability to endure a highly physical or stressful event. The heart beats 100,000 times a day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.  Any issue contributing to the inability to function at this level and the causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction (without an approved waiver) are listed below:

Heart Valve Function or Disease

Current or history of all valvular heart diseases, congenital or acquired, including those improved by surgery, are disqualifying. Mitral valve prolapse or bicuspid aortic valve is not disqualifying unless there is associated abnormally high heart rates (tachyarrhythmia), improper valve function (mitral valve regurgitation), narrowing of the artery (aortic stenosis), insufficiency, or an enlarging of the heart (cardiomegaly).

Current or history coronary heart disease is disqualifying.

Current or history of symptomatic abnormal heart beat rhythm (arrhythmia) or electrocardiographic evidence of arrhythmia.

Current or history of supraventricular elevated heart rate, or any abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia) originating from the atrium or sinoatrial node, such as atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, unless there has been no recurrence during the preceding 2 years while off all medications, is disqualifying.

Premature atrial or ventricular contractions sufficiently symptomatic to require treatment, or result in physical or psychological impairment, are disqualifying.

Current or history of ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation, tachycardia, or multifocal premature ventricular contractions, is disqualifying. Occasional asymptomatic unifocal premature ventricular contractions are not disqualifying.

Current or history of ventricular conduction disorders, including, but not limited to disorders with left bundle branch block, Mobitz type II second degree atrioventricular (AV) block, and third degree AV block and Lown-Ganong-Levine-Syndrome associated with an arrhythmia are disqualifying. Current or history of Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, unless it has been successfully ablated for a period of 2 years without recurrence of arrhythmia and now with a normal electrocardiogram, is disqualifying.

Current or history of conduction disturbances such as first degree AV block, left anterior hemiblock, right bundle branch block, or Mobitz type I second degree AV block are disqualifying when symptomatic or associated with underlying cardiovascular disease.

Current cardiomegaly, hypertrophy or dilatation of the heart are disqualifying.

Current or history of abnormality of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), including inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), or congestive heart failure, is disqualifying.

Current or history of swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin saclike membrane surrounding your heart (pericarditis), unless the individual is free of all symptoms for 2 years, and has no evidence of cardiac restriction or persistent pericardial effusion, is disqualifying.

Current persistent tachycardia (resting pulse rate of 100 beats per minute or greater) is disqualifying.

Current or history of congenital anomalies of heart and great vessels, except for corrected patent ductus arteriosus, are disqualifying.

Vascular system

Current or history of abnormalities of the arteries and blood vessels, including, but not limited to aneurysms, atherosclerosis, or arteritis, are disqualifying.

Current or history of hypertensive vascular disease is disqualifying. Elevated blood pressure defined as the average of three consecutive sitting blood pressure measurements separated by at least 10 minutes, diastolic greater than 90 mmHg or three consecutive systolic pressure measurements greater than 140 mmHg is disqualifying.

History of pulmonary or systemic embolization is disqualifying.

Current or history of peripheral vascular disease, including, but not limited to diseases such as Raynaud’s Disease where blood flow is restricted or decreased to the digits causing obvious discoloration is disqualifying.

Current or history of venous diseases, including but not limited to, recurrent inflammatory issues that cause blood clots to form and block one or more veins, usually in your legs (thrombophlebitis). Thrombophlebitis during the preceding year, or any evidence of venous incompetence, such as large or symptomatic varicose veins, edema, or skin ulceration, is disqualifying.

Derived from Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 6130.3, "Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction," and DOD Instruction 6130.4, "Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Armed Forces."