Medical Tourism Travel for Heart Patients
People who have a case of heart related ailments ought to have some form of medical preparation and physician counseling before traveling for treatment. Since air travel forms an important component of health travel and due to the fact that it is the most frequently used mode of transport to different countries, we will focus on that aspect of health travel.
In general, travelling by air, doesn’t pose a threat to most people affected by a heart condition. A study has proposed that cardiac related incidents occur only in 1 to 2 people per million during air travel. However, it is advised to avoid flying, at least for some period of time, as confinement to high-altitudes and low-oxygen compartments increases the risks.
People are to avoid flying if they have had:
- a heart attack within the past three weeks
- a coronary artery stent placement within the past two weeks
- an artery bypass surgery within the past three weeks
- a severe chest pain (angina) or arrhythmia
- pulmonary complications
Recent researches have shown that flying with a heart condition could result in venous thrombosis, or the formation of a blood clot in the veins of the leg, pelvis, or arms. A person with a heart condition can be predisposed to blood clots due to long flight hours (more than 8 hours) and the reduced oxygen levels in a plane cabin also add to the risk.People with pacemakers or implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICD) are advised to request a hand search if possible. The examiner should be advised to hold the handheld device (like the metal detectors) over the ICD for no more than a few seconds, as according to some researches, this may pose a theoretical risk of delivering an inadvertent shock to the wearer.
Recommended pre-travel checklist for the people who have heart conditions are as follows:
- All necessary medications are to be taken along on a journey
- A copy of a normal electrocardiogram (ECG) is to be carried along on the trip,
- Below-the-knee compression stockings are to be strictly worn by persons who are over 50 years old or those with one or more risk factors for venous thrombosis (such as obesity,pregnancy,recent surgery and use of hormone replacement therapy) when traveling on a plane for more than eight hours or 3,000 miles.
- Alcoholic beverages are to be strictly avoided onboard.
- Consume plenty of fluids. Remaining hydrated is very important to avoid blood clots.
- Consult your doctor before traveling.
- Carry the contact numbers of the ICD manufacturers and local representatives in the destination country.
- Make sure you carry wheelie cases to avoid lifting and physical exertion.
- Book for assistance at airports and hotels.
People living with a heart condition should also watch out for
- Stressful situations like day trips, excursions or tours.
- Local weather. Cold weather is a strain on the heart.
Those who have experienced some form of heart related ailments should frequently warm up and avoid exerting themselves. Hot weather on the other hand can cause dehydration, putting a great strain on the heart and blood circulation. Taking suitable preventive measures is key to avoid any risks while travelling.