Flying with a medical condition can be risky at times. Due to extra air pressure in the cabin, our bodies can react differently as compared to the ground level. Most common medical emergencies during a flight are pregnancy-related emergencies, heart attacks, diabetic seizures, asthma attacks etc.
People with heart conditions are most prone to health emergencies during a flight. Heart conditions can lead to various health emergencies such as cardiac arrest, coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure, recent heart surgery and cardiac arrhythmia.
So it is better to prepare yourself ahead of your flight if you have any medical condition.
Air travel is usually not dangerous for people with heart conditions. Still, there are some aspects of flying that may pose a problem for cardiovascular illnesses. Many factors involve confined space, dehydration, low oxygen concentration, high altitude, air pressure and the potential of increased stress.
Due to limited physical activity in a plane, the chances of developing blood clots increase. These risks are higher if you already have a CAD or an implanted heart device. And if you have an arrhythmia, then chances of a stroke are higher during flight.
The pressure of oxygen is slightly lower at high altitudes than at ground level. The reduced oxygen pressure in airplanes can lead to less than optimal oxygen concentration in the body if you already have a heart condition. This may lead to pulmonary hypertension or CAD.
What you can do:
Before the flight, you should consult your doctor about whether you need any tests or medical adjustments. If your heart condition is stable, it is safe for you to take the flight.
Consider getting any vaccinations done before flying. There are many travel destinations where you can fly without any restrictions once you have got the necessary vaccines. However, keep in mind if your heart condition is stable despite the vaccinations. Some indications show if your heart health is unstable:
You must get coupons online and stock up on medicines to avoid any emergency. Pack your medicines within reach if you feel anything wrong and don’t forget to miss any of your scheduled doses.
If you have had a recent heart attack or surgery, then your doctor should subject you to a stress test before flying.
You need to get your oxygen blood levels checked before the flight as well. However, people with implantable defibrillators and pacemakers can fly safely.
While it is safe to fly with a pacemaker or defibrillator, some security equipment may interfere with the device function. Ask your doctor beforehand whether it is safe to go through security.
Take a copy of your medication list, doctor’s contact information, allergies, emergency contacts in case of an emergency.