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Flying with low hemoglobin

Posted Feb 27 2010 12:00am

A myeloma list member asked me if I would publish the following question: has anyone with low hemoglobin ever been on a long flight? If so, he would appreciate receiving details, advice etc. (If you don’t want to leave a public comment, please use my Contact form…I will forward any messages to him).

His wife, whose hemoglobin is 7.5 g/dL, is planning a trip from Japan to Los Angeles, U.S.A. The airline, however, informed her that she cannot take any supplemental oxygen on board unless she applies for permission .

I found a couple of items on this topic just now: Patients with anemia must undergo medical assessment before embarking on a flight. Anyone with a hemoglobin level below 8.5 g per dL (85 g per L), as in sickle cell anemia, should have an oxygen supplement (see  and also ).

I am not sure what I would do if I were in her shoes…but, after reading the above-mentioned links, flying without supplemental oxygen sounds a bit risky to me…even though the second link states only that it is “generally advised” to have some extra oxygen on hand…Any  further thoughts? Thanks!

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