Sunday, June 9, 2024

How Soon Can I Fly After Heart Bypass Surgery

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Driving After A Heart Attack And A Stent

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If you had a heart attack and a stent at the same time, you should not drive for at least two weeks. If you have a stent put in without having had a heart attack, NZTA guidelines state you should wait at least two days before driving again.

Different rules apply for Class 2, 3, 4 or 5 licence and/or a P, V, I or O endorsement.

Are You An International Patient

We see patients from around the world and try to make it as easy as possible to get care at Cleveland Clinic. Our Global Patient Services Department will help make arrangements or answer any questions you have. Cleveland Clinic also offers on-site interpreting services to help you have the best experience possible once you are here.

Please note: This video was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. We now follow added protocols to protect our patients and caregivers.

You May Experience Sleep Issues

Many people complain of having trouble sleeping for some time after heart surgery. You may experience insomnia because of:

  • Effects of anesthesia

  • Changes in your daily routine

  • Stress from personal concerns

Normal sleeping patterns typically return in two to three weeks. Until then, try these tips:

  • Take enough rest breaks in between your normal daily activities but avoid a daytime nap longer than 20 minutes.

  • If you have pain, take your pain medication about 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • Arrange the pillows so you can maintain a comfortable position and decrease muscle strain.

  • If you feel anxious or nervous, talk to your spouse, partner or a trusted friend. Get your troubles off your mind.

  • Avoid caffeine in the evenings.

  • Listen to relaxing music or a guided imagery audio program.

  • Ask your partner to give you a back rub.

  • Take a relaxing shower.

  • Follow a bedtime routine to let your body know its time to relax and get to sleep.

  • Its OK to sleep on your back, side or stomach. You will not hurt your incisions.

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Air Travel Is Generally Safe For Heart Patients With Appropriate Precautions

If you have heart disease, you can fly safely as a passenger on an airplane, but you need to be aware of your risks and take necessary precautions.

Heart conditions that can lead to health emergencies when flying include coronary artery disease , cardiac arrhythmia , recent heart surgery, an implanted heart device, heart failure, and pulmonary arterial disease.

When planning air travel, anxiety about the prevention and treatment of a heart attack on a plane or worrying about questions such as “can flying cause heart attacks” may give you the jitters. You can shrink your concern about things like fear of having a heart attack after flying by planning ahead.

Cardiothoracic Surgical Considerations In Pilots


It is possible to return to flying as a pilot after cardiac surgery however, special attention to perioperative planning is essential choice of procedure and prosthetic material are often critical in the determination of license renewal. Restrictions on pilot licenses are likely to apply following surgery and postoperative follow-up usually requires intensive additional investigations at specific time points. The cardiac surgeon should always liaise with the pilots AME prior to the operation and understand the ramifications of different courses of action, and the need for certain clinical investigations to allow the AME to determine their suitability to return to their flying career or recreation.

As a general principle, the authors recommend that the most appropriate, evidence-based, surgical intervention should always be offered, ensuring that the pilot is aware of the ramifications of this suggestion to their professional role. If unacceptable to the pilot, however, the surgeon should be willing to offer aircrew alternative options . These should still be clinically appropriate but allow these professionals the opportunity to continue with their professional careers . Pilots should be aware of the additional risks that might be associated with these alternative courses of action, but as long as an informed decision is agreed between the surgeon and pilot, informed consent is maintained.

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Travelling With Your Medicines

Always carry medicines and medical equipment in their original, correctly-labelled packages. Carry your medication in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription .

Pack a spare supply of medication in your suitcase or hold luggage in case you lose your hand luggage. Check that the expiry dates of your medicines will be valid for the duration of your visit abroad.

Some medicines need to be kept at room temperature or stored in the fridge. If you are travelling to a warm country, get advice from your pharmacist about storing your medicine. For example, to keep your medicine at the right temperature, you may need to store it using:

  • A thermos flask

How Soon Can I Fly After Surgery Take These Things Into Consideration

Your holiday is booked and there is an available slot for a wisdom tooth removal during the week before you are set to leave. Should you book the surgery or postpone it because of your upcoming flight?

The first thing to consider in all situations is the general health of the patient. The patient should have recovered from the surgery with a good level of health and there should be no signs of complications, says Katariina Kainulainen, a Specialist in infectious diseases at The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa .

Recovery means that a patient should be able to eat and drink as usual, have a normal temperature, and the potential surgical wound should be healing well. If surgery involved bleeding, patients should also have healthy haemoglobin levels. In addition, the patient should be able to travel on a plane by himself or herself, without assistance.

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When Can I Fly After A Heart Attack

No two heart attacks are the same and everyone recovers differently. You must speak to your doctor about any travel plans. He / she will advise you when it is safe for you to fly following your heart attack.

Factors that will be taken into consideration include: how badly your heart was damaged if there were any complications after your heart attack if you still have any symptoms and if you are due to receive any more tests or treatment.

Need For Medical Assistance

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Persons experiencing symptoms as noted above during flight should seek immediate attention from the crew who have the capability of air-to-ground communication with a physician-directed medical communications center. Most major carriers, especially on international routes, carry automated external defibrillators with EKG monitors, oxygen, resuscitative equipment, and a variable number of first aid kits . Travelers with known cardiac disease who experience chest pain, shortness of breath, angina, or an irregular heartbeat should insist that the captain contact ground support for immediate evaluation of the condition via satellite connection.

Persons experiencing symptoms any time during the trip should seek immediate medical attention.

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Benefits Of Allclear Cover

Emergency medical expenses and Repatriation costs Up to £10m
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Friend or relative to travel from your home area to stay with you if you fall ill with Covid-19 Up to £2k
Cost of return flight due to COVID-19
Personal Belongings
* If you buy a policy which includes cancellation cover
All these figures are per person and per trip

An Overview Of Bypass Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass surgery is also known as coronary , coronary bypass graft surgery or bypass surgery. In this case, a new artery is taken from leg or arm and is attached to the heart through which the blood flows to the heart. This serves as a bypass to the diseased artery. Since this surgery involves using a healthy artery from another section of the body to bypass the diseased artery which is blocked, it is known as Coronary bypass surgery. The bypass creates a new blood flow for oxygen rich blood, which the heart requires to function properly.

During , the sternum is divided, the heart is stopped for a while and the blood is sent via a heart-lung machine when the surgery is being performed to the rest of the body. In contrast with other types of open heart surgery, the heart chambers are not opened while doing a bypass surgery. Depending on the number of arteries that are bypassed it is called as single, double, triple or quadruple bypass.

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Genetic And Congenital Cardiac Diseases

Congenital connective tissue disorders such as Marfans syndrome, EhlersDanlos and LoeysDietz are uniformly assessed as unfit in pilot applicants. This is often due to the wider skeletal and systemic manifestations of these conditions in addition to their cardiac disease. In case of late presentation in pilots and other aircrew, mild forms of disease may be acceptable, if no systemic manifestation exceeds the acceptable regulatory requirements. Usual clinical management 2) should be followed in the first instance.

Common congenital cardiac diseases may be compatible with pilot licensing, usually if mild or if surgically corrected in childhood or early teens. Cyanotic heart disease is universally incompatible with aircrew duties. Common congenital cardiac disease that may present in aircrew includes coarctation of the aorta, patent ductus arteriosus , hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and tetralogy of Fallot .

How To Lower Your Risk For Blood Clots

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Sitting still for long periods can restrict blood flow and increase the risk of developing blood clots.

Here are a few ways to improve your circulation while traveling:

  • While seated, extend your legs straight out and flex your ankles so your toes point toward you. Hold for 15 seconds.
  • If space allows, pull one knee up toward your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Alternate and repeat 10 times.
  • Get up and walk for a few minutes every hour.
  • Skip alcohol but drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Wear compression stockings to help keep blood from pooling in your legs.

Its also important to be aware of any signs of blood clots, such as redness, swelling, tenderness, and pain.

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Getting Back In The Cockpit After Heart Surgery

Patients who have these operations obviously appreciate that too. Although there are always exceptions, most patients can get back to pretty normal lives after their recovery. Our pals in the FAA dont always see things the same way and, justifiably so, have some very strict rules and regulations on getting back in the cockpit after heart surgery.

Cardiac surgery can replace blocked arteries with wide-open new ones bringing needed blood to the heart muscle. We can fix or replace leaky valves that cause debilitating heart failure if not treated. If all else fails, we can even replace a bad heart with a mechanical one or a new one but thats pretty dramatic. Theres no doubt these are big and invasive procedures and getting back to flying airplanes after having an operation like this is a huge step forward. Some of it has to do with the mechanics of having a chest incision and a heart repair and some of it deals with the effects of that surgery on your postoperative cardiac function and other parts of your physiology. From a surgeons point of view there are a number of issues to consider before clearing a postoperative patient to return to their normal activities, especially flying airplanes.

Kenneth Stahl, MD, FACS

What About Traveling By Car

The risk of developing DVT comes from lack of movement, whether youre traveling by air, rail, or road. Youre also at an increased risk for DVT if you go home and spend too much time in bed.

You can lower your risk for DVT by moving your legs whenever possible. If youre traveling by car, plan to stop and stretch your legs every hour. Once youre home, avoid sitting for more than 4 hours at a time.

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What To Know About Dvt

One risk factor for DVT is sitting in the same position for a long time. This is usually what happens when youre on an airplane for several hours. This can slow your circulation and cause blood to coagulate in the veins in your legs.

These clots may dissolve on their own, but they can also break off and travel to your lungs, blocking the flow of blood. This potentially fatal condition is called a pulmonary embolism.

The risk of developing blood clots is higher if youve recently had surgery. Other risk factors for blood clots include:

  • a recent hospital stay with extended bed rest
  • pregnancy and up to 3 months postpartum
  • previous blood clots or a family history of blood clots
  • recent or current cancer treatment

Flying After Orthopaedic Surgery

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As a rough guide, before flying, you should allow:

  • 1-2 days after arthroscopic surgery.
  • 1-2 days after a plaster cast has been applied. NB. If both your legs are in plaster, it is unlikely that you will be able to fly Contact your travel operator or airline for advice
  • 4-5 days after simple, open surgery .
  • 14 days for more complicated open surgery .
  • 14 days after surgery to stabilise a fracture .
  • 3 months total hip replacement .

Please note Surgery & /or a broken bone will also affect where you can sit on a plane and your ability to tolerate turbulence. These should be considered BEFORE you book your flight and board the plane.

Dr James McLean has provided these recommendations as a rough guide. Please keep in mind that this material is a reference guide only and your recovery may be impacted by choosing to fly in the immediate post-operative period or with a fracture .

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Travelling Overseas After A Heart Attack

If you have planned or are planning an overseas trip, it’s best to discuss these plans with your doctor.

Each airline has a different policy for air travel following a heart attack. You may be advised not to travel until your condition is stable. It’s recommended that you contact your airline prior to booking your flight. If you’re going overseas, you’ll need a travel insurance policy that will cover you for pre-existing conditions.

If you are planning on travelling to a country that has a time difference, you will need to discuss your medication regime with your doctor or pharmacist.

If youre back behind the wheel, you may also be thinking about going back to work.

Travel Insurance After Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart bypass travel insurance covers you if you have had a heart bypass and wish to travel with peace of mind. This type of insurance covers you for medical emergencies, helping to prevent unexpected medical bills and unnecessary complications that can arise on trips abroad.

AllClear is the specialist in providing travel insurance for people with existing medical conditions, including travel insurance for those following a heart bypass.

Getting a quote is easy it can be done online through our simple quote process. Once your information has been processed you will be offered a range of quotes from various travel insurance providers who are able to offer you the travel insurance after a heart bypass that you need.

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What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk For Complications

Every situation is different, so its important to talk to your doctor about when it will be safe to travel before you have your surgery.

Your primary care doctor or surgeon can evaluate your personal risks. With regard to travel, be sure to discuss:

  • your risk for blood clots
  • any medications youre taking, such as blood thinners and whether adjustments are necessary
  • any supplies you should have, such as graduated compression stockings or supplemental oxygen

If youll need special equipment or assistance on your flight, you should also check with the airline before booking your trip.

When traveling soon after surgery, it may be helpful to have a travel companion whos familiar with your situation.

Will You Be Covered If Youre Travelling During The Covid

What is Open Heart Surgery?

There are three things to check so that you can make sure you’re covered:

  • You must be fit to travel
  • The FCDO must NOT have advised against travel to your destination – check the FCDO travel advice
  • You must follow the local government advice for your destination, checking and following their guidelines and entry requirements

You can then be covered for emergency medical expenses and cancellation for a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, with AllClear travel insurance with enhanced Coronavirus cover. Existing policyholders should read our Frequently Asked Questions if your trip is affected by Covid-19.

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Complications Are A Risk

Even though it is not common to have complications after surgery, it is important not to board a plane before you are in the clear of most common complications. Therefore, it is important to follow the waiting periods set by airlines. The most common problems are infections and bleeding around the area of the surgical wound. In a worst case scenario, the patient will get a high fever during the long flight and their overall health will decline to a dangerous level due to an infection. There is also a possibility that the surgical area will bleed if you fly too early, which can lead to a circulatory shock. Furthermore, pain from the surgery should be manageable before flying. The most important thing is to always talk to your attending doctor about flying. In addition, if you have one of following medical conditions, you must be in contact with the airline or travel company when booking your flight. In these cases, a Standard Medical Information Form for Air Travel must be filled out .

  • Recent myocardial infarction

  • Coronary artery disease that is showing symptoms

  • Chronic lung diseases

  • Situations that require oxygen therapy

  • Psychosis

  • Anemia

Flying is forbidden for patients with certain contagious diseases such as chickenpox and tuberculosis.

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