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The heart health of passengers on business flights

Flying by plane is a routine for many, whether for professional or personal reasons. However, for passengers suffering from certain cardiac conditions, flying can pose significant challenges.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Given that passenger safety and health are paramount, it is crucial to understand the implications of various cardiac conditions on flight fitness. Let’s explore in detail how different cardiac pathologies can influence the ability to travel by air and what recommendations to follow.

Acquired Cardiac Conditions

Angina, well-controlled by appropriate medication or absent at rest, does not constitute a barrier to flying. However, in the case of unstable angina or onset during minimal exertion, evaluation by a competent aerospace medicine physician is necessary to determine flight fitness.

After a myocardial infarction, the criteria determining flight fitness vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s age, the presence of complications, and cardiac function. In some cases, flying may be considered after just three days, provided certain conditions are met. However, in other cases, a longer delay may be necessary to ensure passenger safety.

For passengers with heart failure, stability and control of the condition are essential to determine flight fitness. Specialized medical evaluation is necessary in cases of acute or uncontrolled heart failure.

If pulmonary edema is resolved, the passenger is fit to fly. Otherwise, consultation with a competent aerospace medicine physician is necessary.

Congenital Heart Diseases and Surgery

Passengers with congenital heart diseases, especially those causing cyanosis, require specialized medical evaluation. Measures such as in-flight oxygen therapy may be necessary to ensure safe travel.

The time required before being able to fly after cardiac surgery varies depending on the type of surgery and the patient’s postoperative stability. In some cases, specialized medical advice is recommended to guarantee passenger safety.

For passengers who have undergone an angiography or angioplasty, the fitness to fly depends on post-intervention stability. A specialized medical evaluation may be necessary to determine flight fitness.

After the implantation of a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator, specific delays must be respected before being able to fly safely. Specialized medical evaluation is recommended to ensure flight fitness.

Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

Passengers who have suffered from deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism may be fit to fly under certain conditions, including stabilization of the condition and appropriate anticoagulant treatment.

In conclusion:

It is essential for passengers with cardiac problems to understand the implications of their condition on their ability to travel by air. In collaboration with healthcare professionals specialized in aerospace medicine, it is possible to determine the necessary precautions and delays to ensure safe and uncomplicated travel. Passenger health and safety remain an absolute priority, and with the right precautions in place, flying can be done with peace of mind.

Philippe Casanova

Specialist in occupational medicine and forensic medicine.

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