If you’re among the thousands of people who live with a pacemaker, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to travel with this device.
The answer? Yes, it is definitely possible to fly with a pacemaker. However, there are a few important things you need to be aware of.
What is a Pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device implanted near the heart to help regulate the heartbeat. This device is usually worn by people who have been diagnosed with conditions that can affect the way their heart beats, such as bradycardia. The device is implanted into the chest through a surgical procedure.
Pacemakers will only work when needed. If the heart starts to beat irregularly, the pacemaker will send electrical signals to the organ to correct the beating. Some of the newer models of pacemakers also have sensors capable of detecting body motions and breathing rates, which will send signals to the device to increase the heart rate during an exercise or when performing an activity that requires heavy breathing.
What Heart Conditions Require a Pacemaker?
Pacemakers are used for the treatment of heart rhythm disorders and other related conditions, such as the following:
- Fainting spells (syncope)
- Heart failure
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Slow heart rhythm (bradycardia)
Is it Safe to Fly with a Pacemaker?
It is definitely safe to travel with a pacemaker, as long as you come prepared and that you consult with your doctor before flying. Your doctor will provide you with tips to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.
You should not encounter any problems while on the plane with a pacemaker. During the flight, you must make sure to stay hydrated and move around as much as you can, as any passenger on a plane should. If you need to sit for a longer time, try to perform simple leg movements and ankle rotations to allow the blood to fully circulate in your body and reduce the risk of developing a blood clot.
Advice for Flying with a Pacemaker
Here’s some advice for flying with a pacemaker:
- Make sure to always carry your patient ID card with you.
- Bring enough supply of medications that will last until the duration of your trip. Pack your medications in a carry-on so they will be with you during the entire journey.
- Carry a photocopy of the prescriptions from your doctor, along with any pharmacy information, so you can easily purchase medications when needed.
- Ask your doctor to give you a copy of the last printout from your pacemaker during your recent evaluation.
- More importantly, purchase comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the expenses in case of medical emergencies. Don’t forget to inform your insurance provider about your heart condition, as it will only cover any potential medical expenses if you fully declare your medical history.
Having a pacemaker does not automatically mean you cannot fly. You can still fly and travel to wherever you want to go, but there are safety tips to keep in mind. And since everyone’s situation is different, it is best to talk to your doctor about the different ways to ensure safety when flying with a pacemaker.
For more advice on the best travel insurance when flying with health conditions that require devices such as a pacemaker, get in touch and speak to a member of our team.