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PCI and fitness to fly (flying)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Condition

Lay explanation

Restriction/guidance

Elective PCI - uncomplicated

You have had the heart arteries treated with a balloon and stent and there are no complications

Fly after 2 days

Complicated coronary angioplasty - if the procedure was complicated or the pre-PCI state was poor, then the patient requires re-evaluation and should wait one to two weeks before flying

Condition

Functional status

Lay explanation

Restriction/guidance

Post STEMI and NSTEMI

Low risk

Age <65, first event, successful reperfusion, EF>45%,no complications,no planned investigations or interventions

If you have had a heart attack but you are less than 65yrs, the blocked artery has been opened, the heart pump is not badly damaged and no further tests or treatment are planned

Fly after 3 days

Medium risk

EF >40%,no symptoms of heart failure,no evidence of inducible ischemia or arrhythmia,no planned investigations or interventions

If you have had a heart attack your heart pump is quite good and you have no symptoms of breathlessness or chest pain and no other tests or treatments are planned

Fly after 10 days

High risk

EF <40%,signs and symptoms of heart failure, those pending further investigation, revascularisation or device therapy

If you have had a heart attack, the heart pump is significantly damaged and you have symptoms of breathlessness or you are waiting for further tests or treatment

Defer travel until stable

Note that these are only guidelines and each airline has its own regulations and medical standards.

Reference:

  • British Heart Foundation (September 2010). Factfile - Fitness to fly for passengers with cardiovascular disease.
  • Medical guidelines for air travel', Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, October 1996; 67 (10); 11.

 


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