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Travelling with heart disease

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Having a heart condition does not usually preclude travel. However, some patients with more severe heart disease or whose heart condition is unstable may be advised to delay travelling until their clinical condition has improved.

General advice

It is recommended that travel insurance is up to date and covers the patient's specific heart condition to avoid claim refusal if urgent care is required. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is advised if travelling in Europe. Travel plans may be discussed with a clinical specialist nurse, hospital specialist, or with the patient's GP. It is advisable to have an up-to-date list of medications and doses to take on holiday. It is worthwhile taking some extra medication in case of delays in journeys or emergencies. Obtaining details for local doctors at the holiday destination may be useful.

General advice includes staying in accommodation close to any amenities, tailoring physical activity to fitness level, avoiding extremes of temperature at holiday destinations, and avoiding travelling to high altitudes, as lower levels of oxygen may precipitate an angina attack or dyspnoea.1 An increased risk of flight-related deep vein thrombosis may be associated with heart disease.


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