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Chronic heart failure and fitness to fly

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team


Lay explanation


Acute heart failure

You have been in hospital or treated at home because of 'water in the lungs' which made you very breathless

Fly after 6 weeks if stabilised (see chronic heart failure)



Functional status

Lay explanation


Chronic heart failure


You get breathless on mild to moderate exercise but no recent (within 6 weeks) change of symptoms or medication

No restriction


You get breathless on walking 20-100 yards/metres at your own pace but no recent (within 6 weeks) change of symptoms or medication

May require in flight oxygen


You are breathless at rest and mainly bedbound

Advised not to fly without in flight oxygen and medical assistanc


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


  • British Heart Foundation (September 2010). Factfile - Fitness to fly for passengers with cardiovascular disease.

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