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Majority of patients with cardiovascular conditions ‘are fit to fly’

By Nigel Praities

GPs can advise the vast majority of patients with cardiovascular disease who are not critically ill that they are fit to fly, according to the British Cardiovascular Society.

The guidance published this month in Heart found ‘reasonable restrictions' should only be applied if the underlying cardiovascular condition is associated with a significant risk of acute deterioration.

The BCS did advise GPs to tell patients to plan their arrival at the airport in plenty of time to avoid having to rush and to warn the carrier and/or the airport authority of any requirements for assistance, including a requirement for in-flight oxygen.

They also strongly advised patients to ensure they have an ‘appropriate supply' of their medication and a letter of explanation from their doctor regarding their condition, drugs, allergies and any devices, for example pacemakers.

‘For those at the more severe end of the spectrum of their specific cardiovascular condition, services exist to help make the journey more easily and safely,' reads the guidance.

‘Most carriers and airport authorities provide assistance on the ground and in the air. Oxygen is available on most major carriers, although this is sometimes subject to a charge and at least seven days notice is normally required.'

Heart 2010; 96; published online August 2010

The majority of patients with CV conditions 'are fit to fly' The majority of patients with CV conditions 'are fit to fly'