Arrhythmia is a widespread rhythm disturbance that often occurs not only in patients with cardiovascular diseases, but also in completely healthy individuals and even athletes. In some cases, a person does not even know that he has arrhythmia and calmly goes about his business. But sometimes a specific diagnosis is made, which is extremely difficult not to pay attention to, especially if you need to fly by plane.
Patients with arrhythmia are most often diagnosed with such a form of rhythm disturbance as atrial fibrillation. Extrasystoles, tachycardia and a slowing of the rhythm, referred to as bradycardia, can also be determined.
An examination by a cardiologist and the passage of some instrumental research methods: electrocardiography, daily ECG monitoring, ultrasound of the heart, can determine the exact form of rhythm disturbance. It is especially important to repeat the examination before the need to fly with cardiac arrhythmias in an airplane. There are other recommendations for patients planning air travel.
The effect of air travel on the heart
The difficulty of traveling by plane for patients with arrhythmia is that there is a significant fluctuation in atmospheric pressure. For example, on short air flights, airplanes rise to an altitude of 2500 m above sea level. For long journeys, this figure can be 10,000 m or more. At this altitude, atmospheric pressure is noticeably reduced. In addition, there is a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the air. Such factors have a negative impact on the work of the heart, which begins to experience a huge burden.
Pressure drops are felt by all passengers flying, but for “cores” such a test can end in disaster.
During the flight, patients with coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, after myocardial infarction may be in critical condition. It is also difficult to fly by plane for patients with some forms of arrhythmia. Be aware that regular medications may not help during an attack. The only positive result can be achieved with additional oxygen inhalation.
You should be aware that many airlines do not allow the use of oxygen bags on board due to their high explosiveness.
What are the ways to solve the current situation?
At the flight planning stage, you need to check with the airline representative about the possibility of ordering an oxygen bag or oxygen inhaler.
In case of a negative answer from the airline representative, you can try to ask your doctor to place an order for an oxygen inhaler. This will require a certificate confirming the patient’s need for additional oxygen.
You should take Validol with you, which you will need to put a tablet under your tongue before takeoff and landing. The medicine helps the heart to cope with oxygen deficiency.
It is recommended to drink 40 drops of Corvalol or Valerian before planting. With the help of these means, you can more safely transfer the load, and the heart rate will also be within normal limits.
The flight will be almost imperceptible and more favorable if you engage in distracting activities: reading a book, listening to music, doing crosswords.
Influence of air travel on blood vessels
During a flight, even a short one, not only stress is experienced, but also the negative effect of limited mobility. Sitting continuously for 3-4 hours, and sometimes longer, is tiring for a healthy person. With diseases of the cardiovascular system, including arrhythmias, prolonged sitting leads to a load on the vessels of the legs.
The most obvious processes occurring during the flight in the vessels:
slowing down blood flow;
increased blood viscosity;
narrowing of the lumen of the veins.
As a result, there is pain in the legs, numbness of the toes, and swelling of the tissues. Thus, favorable conditions are created for the development of thrombosis, and in difficult cases, thromboembolism.
What are the ways to solve the current situation?
You should try not to keep your legs in one position for a long time, especially it is not recommended to cross your legs or squeeze them under you.
If possible, the legs should be aligned.
Move your legs as often as possible.
Every 40-50 minutes you need to get up and walk around the cabin.
When purchasing a ticket, you need to choose a seat near the aisle, then you can safely go out, straighten your legs, move them, while not interfering with anyone.
Flight by plane with various forms of arrhythmia
There are various recommendations of doctors associated with one or another form of arrhythmia.
Atrial fibrillation – the disease is not a contraindication to air travel, if only the examinations carried out before the flight show that the sinus rhythm is preserved. It is also important to adhere to the drinking regime (during the flight, drink up to 1.5 liters of water) and do not forget to warm up the legs.
Bradycardia – while maintaining sinus rhythm, the warnings are the same as with the above option. If there are frequent dizziness, light-headedness, heart rate is greatly reduced, then flights in this state are not recommended. A similar situation is with sick sinus syndrome and atrioventricular blockages, in which it is also not recommended to fly an airplane without a doctor’s assistance.
Extrasystole – often this form of rhythm disturbance does not bring any special troubles to patients, therefore, in the absence of serious pathologies of other organs of the body system, you can safely fly. Phenazepam or mebikar can be taken before the flight for particularly susceptible individuals.
It is important to remember that in case of arrhythmias, especially during a flight or while in another country, you should not overeat or drink alcohol. Such factors of influence have an extremely negative effect on the health of patients with arrhythmia, therefore, if these rules are violated, an attack of rhythm disturbance is provided.