heart disease and fitness to fly
Last edited 08/2019 and last reviewed 08/2019
Cardiovascular indications for medical oxygen during commercial airline flights
|Use of oxygen at baseline altitude|
CHF - Congestive Heart Failure
NYHA - York Heart Association
CCS - Canadian Cardiovascular Society
For those with cerebral arterial insufficiency, supplementary oxygen may be advisable to prevent hypoxia. Clinical judgement has an important role in the individual assessment of fitness to fly. However, some cardiovascular contraindications to flight are shown in Table below:
|Cardiovascular contraindications to commercial airline flight (1)|
- Pacemaker or defibrillator implantation
- accept as fit to fly if >=2 days since procedure if no pneumothorax
and rhythm is stable. In the event of a pneumothorax, flying should be
deferred for 2 weeks following complete resolution
- accept as fit to fly if >=2 days since procedure if no pneumothorax and rhythm is stable. In the event of a pneumothorax, flying should be deferred for 2 weeks following complete resolution
- Ablation therapy
- accept as fit to fly if >= 2 days since procedure
- note that patient flying within a week of the procedure is considered
at high risk of DVT
- deep vein thrombosis
- fit to fly if asymptomatic and stable on anticoagulant therapy
For up to date advice then check current guidance (1,2).
See linked items below for more details.
Note that these are only guidelines and each airline has its own regulations and medical standards.
- Civil Aviation Authority. Fitness to Fly (Accessed 1/8/19)
- International Air Transport Association. Medical Manual 11th Edition (2018).