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Travelling with a Heart Condition

13/05/2014

The important considerations when travelling with a heart condition

If you have just recently been diagnosed with a heart condition, or had treatment such as an angiogram, a stent or a bypass, the British Heart Foundation advises that you wait until you have fully recovered from the procedure before booking a holiday. Since your diagnosis you should now also remember that you ought to discuss with your travel insurer that you may well now have what is known as a pre-existing medical condition.

Of course, if your heart condition is stable and under control, you may well want to go on an enjoyable and relaxing holiday and it will probably do you the world of good. Here are a few things to think about when you start planning your trip:

  1. Choose accommodation that is quiet but still within fairly easy reach of restaurants and cafes, or the beach etc.
  2. Choose a holiday type that is relaxing rather than adventurous or sporty – if you want to engage in some more rigorous activity, it is best to check with your doctor before you book the holiday and best to get the doctor’s OK in writing.
  3. Ensure your travel insurance will cover you for any emergency arising from your condition – your insurer may treat it as a pre-existing medical condition and you will need to let them know everything about it to make sure you are covered for all eventualities.
  4. Make sure you have an up to date list of what medications you are taking (record every detail because medicine may be sold under a different brand name abroad), what dosage you take and keep this list in the hotel safe – just in case you lose any of it.
  5. If you are travelling abroad, have a letter from your doctor with you explaining your condition, what medication you are taking and anything else that may be relevant. Be sure it mentions any medical devices you are carrying, such as a pacemaker for example, or an ICD (Implantable cardioverter defibrillator).
  6. Take more medication than you need. Again, this is in case you lose any and also to ensure you have enough if any delays happen and you don’t return on time.

Are there any destinations to avoid?

You would be well advised to avoid travelling to any country with extreme temperatures, either very hot or very cold, because this can put particular strain on your heart.

Similarly, it is best to avoid high altitudes, anything higher than 2000 metres above sea level may have an adverse effect because the lack of oxygen at high altitudes can cause headaches, breathlessness and even angina. A trip to the Himalayas is therefore best avoided but if you love the Alps and other elevated destinations, seek your doctor’s advice first.

himalayas

Photo Credit: A. Ostrovsky

Is it safe to travel by air?

Flying to your destination is generally considered safe, however, as with most things it’s best to err on the side of caution and see your doctor to get his or her opinion on whether you are fit enough to travel by air. This is especially advisable if you have recently had surgery or a heart attack.

Here are a few tips for travel generally and flying in particular:

  1. Allow plenty of time for getting to your point of departure to avoid stress as much as possible.
  2. Don’t carry any luggage if you can avoid it – use wheeled cases and bags.
  3. Speak to your airline or carrier and check if they can offer you any assistance at the point of departure, such as early check-in or mobility assistance.
  4. Also speak to your airline if you need to take more than 100ml liquid medications, gels, etc. in your hand luggage as you will need the airline’s approval to take them on board before you travel. The airline will request a letter from your doctor so it will be best to get this first.
  5. If you are travelling across several time zones, speak to your doctor or nurse for some advice on how to adjust your pattern of taking medication.

Airport Security Systems

If you have a pacemaker or an ICD fitted, don’t forget to take the registration documents for your device with you (make sure you keep a copy in a safe place) to show security staff when you pass through the security checks.

Modern airport security body scanners and screening wands are safe to use. If you have a pacemaker or ICD, you should walk through metal detectors at a normal pace - do not wait inside the detection zone. Just as with mobile phones, it is advised that you keep a distance of 15 cm (6 inches) between the screening wand and the implanted device.

If you are at all uncertain about your insurance cover or would like to talk to one of our advisors about your pre-existing medical condition and how it can affect your holiday, ask us for a call back. Other than that have a very happy holiday!

This product is provided to Travel Insured by goodtogoinsurance.com who are appointed representatives of Ancile Insurance Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – no.471641 By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated travel insurance site provided by goodtogoinsurance.com where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of someone who wishes to insure their trip away from their home for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..


If you experience any problems when using the site, contact us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail

click here to obtain an online quote

This product is provided to Travel Insured by Ancile Insurance Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority - no.471641. By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated travel insurance site provided by Ancile Insurance Group Ltd where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of someone who wishes to insure their trip away from their home for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..

If you experience any problems when using the site, contact us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail.

click here to obtain an online quote

This product is provided to Travel Insured by Ace European Group Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – no.202803. By clicking the box at the foot of this page, you will be taken to our dedicated business travel insurance site provided by Ace European Group Ltd where you will be able to get a travel insurance quotation and view full policy information. The quotation you will obtain is provided on a non advised basis which means that no advice is given or implied and you are solely responsible for deciding whether the policy is suitable for your needs. Contact us if in doubt or if you require advice.

This insurance would meet the demands and needs of a business which wishes to insure business trips away from the UK for cancellation costs, medical expenses and other specific risks required for that trip according to their individual circumstances..

If you experience any problems when using the site, contact
us on 0845 850 1066.

I have read and understood the above detail.

click here to obtain an online quote

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