If you have these medical problems think twice before air travel

If you have these medical problems think twice before air travel

Authored by Satish Potluri on 21 Mar 2013 - 20:40


Millions of people travel by air and is considered very safe. But if you have these medical problems, make sure you talk to your doctor and get clearance before planning your trip.

Cardiovascular complications 

a. Uncomplicated heart attack within 2–3 weeks

b. Complicated heart attack within 6 weeks

c. Severe uncontrolled heart rate

d. Uncontrolled hypertension (elevated blood pressure)

e. Severe heart failure

f. Heart bypasses surgery within 10–14 days.

Lung complications

a) Active Tuberculosis 

b) Unresolved Pneumothorax (Lung collapse and air accumulation between chest cavity and lung) 

c) Recent chest surgery less than 2 weeks 

d) Recent blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolus)

Nervous system Conditions

a) Uncontrolled seizures

b) (Stroke – blood clot / bleeding in brain) in past 4 weeks.

c) Severe dementia (forgetfulness disorder) in elderly people which can lead to altered mental status. (changes in behavior).

Gas expansion in body cavities

Air plane has low pressure compared to our natural environment. It can cause expansion of gases in our body cavities like stomach, intestine and bladder. .

a) Recent bowel obstruction. (2 weeks)

b) Recent Urinary bladder surgery. (2 weeks)

c) Recent bleeding ulcer. (2 weeks)

d) Avoid gas forming food and drinks (carbonated)

Tooth cavities, caries can cause problem with expansion of gas.

Pregnancy :

  • Always talk to your doctor prior to having a long distance flight
  • With uncomplicated single pregnancy patients are usually advised not to travel after 36 weeks
  • If you are carrying twins, it is not advisable to travel after 34 weeks
  • Keep the seat belt below abdomen at the level of hips

Some airlines might ask you a letter from your doctor that you are safe to travel at that time.

If you have any symptoms or health conditions that you are not sure of, check with your doctor before travel. You can also check the various links provided below for additional information.

This is not a medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only, please contact your doctor for any health care issue.