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Can People With Heart Disease Fly Safely?

Posted Jul 19 2010 8:45pm

photo by bkimages

A brand new report published by the British Cardiovascular Society has released guidelines for flying clearance of heart disease patients.  Previously it was unknown how heart patients were affected by the pressure changes in the airplane cabin.  Theories before this had suggested that the reduced oxygen in the plane’s air would put heart disease patients at an increased risk of heart attacks or angina.  Patients have also worried about the effect of flying on their stents, ICD’s and pacemakers.  Using new study information, it was determined that a plane’s environment is not a significant threat to patients with heart problems.

Before you start booking your next flight though, there are a few limitations to the new guidelines.  People with newly diagnosed heart problems need to hold off on flying until they have had their recommended procedure (ie. stents, pacemaker, ICD).  The guidelines enforce the need to wait at least 3-10 days after a heart attack before flying.  Patients who are considered “unstable” by their doctor should not fly at all until they get approval from their cardiologist.

Overall, if you have had heart disease for awhile and your cardiologist feels that you are doing well, there should be no worries the next time you step on a plane.


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