Travelling for long hours can be problematic for persons with heart diseases. Cardiac attack chances increases manifold in persons who had an attack or had a stent placed, in the past 2 weeks. The risk subsequently drops after this period. Research done by a leading university has indicated that travelling of heart patients past recovery phase is safe while but if done within that phase is extremely risky. The recovery phase for those who had a major bypass surgery such as CABG or open heart surgery is six months and travelling should be strictly avoided in this period. Travelling makes a person sit for prolonged hours and accompanied with dehydration and decrease in oxygen level at high altitude tends to aggravate the conditions. High pressure in the cabin can also cause a threat to heart patients. All these situations amount to formation of blood clots in the veins in persons who are susceptible to it. The formation of clot gets un noticed except for the discomfort it may cause and sometimes can be painful .Administration of blood thinner causes the clot to dissolve but usually it dissolves on is own.
The major concern in heart patients is the formation of clots .Deep vein thrombosis is caused due to prolonged sitting and it usually dissolves within the leg itself but if it travels to the lung through blood stream it can cause the lung to collapse and leads to heart attack.
It is best to carry the medication along with your passport and other important documents in carry bag. Blood thinners are prescribed to those who have history of blood clots. Patients who have history of heart attacks are advised to stay away from frequent travelling. Although heart disease is not a major concern for those who have suffered an attack prior to two weeks, it is always best to consult a doctor and get an ECG done before flying.
Keep passports and tickets well prepared since it avoids the last minute rush and anxiety which might lead to an attack in heart patients. Having a preflight meal helps in maintaining the blood sugar level and anxiety in control. A light meal should be preferred and having lots of fluids keeps dehydration at bay. Heart patients should avoid sitting for prolonged hours and should move about every half an hour to prevent thrombosis. intake of alcohol should be avoided as it leads to depletion of fluids in the body and increase the chances of clots. Instead fluids low in sugar and sodium content should be taken to rehydrate
Deep vein thrombosis or the clot can be avoided by wearing compression stockings while travelling.
In case of a cardiac arrest in the plane, which occurs one in a million cases, flight attendants are trained to provide medical aid to the patient. All the details of medication should be kept along with passport so that the staff can refer to it for dosage. The ground staff is alerted to handle the emergency upon landing. A fibrillator is sometimes available in the air craft and comes handy in such situations.