International Travel & Heart Disease

Heart disease or cardiovascular events are the main cause of death (as well as morbidity) and medical emergencies during long international flights and during international travel. During travel heart patients need extra caution as they are more prone to suffer from complication. As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, the heart patient should take some extra precautions to prevent any heart problem.

To dos for heart patient during in-flight as well as during travel: Extra supplies of all the medications used for heart trouble should be kept in carry-on luggage. Along with medications a copy of a recent ECG (electrocardiogram) and the name and telephone number of the traveler’s physician at home should be kept. If heart patient is using pacemaker, these are not affected by airport security devices. Electronic telephone checks of pacemaker function cannot be transmitted by international satellites during flight, which may sometimes (rarely) give trouble to the heart patient who is traveling.

Travelers who are on (using) electronic defibrillators should carry a note to that they are using electronic defibrillators and request for hand screening, instead of mechanized screening, which may create problem for the patient. All heart patients should ask for oxygen supplementation during flight which may benefit the heart patient; since oxygen delivery systems are not standard inside flight. Supplementary oxygen should be ordered by the traveler’s physician well before flight time. Travelers can also benefit from aisle seating and should walk, perform stretching and flexing exercises, consider wearing support hose, and remain hydrated (by taking plenty of fluid) during the flight to prevent venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

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