- Bring any pacemaker documents – if you have a pacemaker you’ll need to notify the airport’s security staff so it doesn’t set off the metal detectors. Scanners with magnets should also be avoided as they can sometimes interfere with a pacemaker’s technology.
- Avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – some heart conditions put you at a greater risk of getting DVT while flying. You can get compression socks for your flight, which should reduce the risk of blood clots, as well as doing gentle leg exercises while you’re in the air. If you’re worried about your risk of DVT, speak to your GP before your trip, as they may be able to prescribe blood-thinning drugs.
- Keep travel insurance paperwork handy – it’s important you know where your travel insurance documents are, particularly if there’s an emergency. Pack two copies separately in case you lose one.
- Try to relax – to get to the holiday, you have to get through the travel first. Rest when necessary, stay hydrated, and where possible, get assistance to and from gates and planes.
Isn’t standard travel insurance good enough?
Many non-specialist travel insurance providers are reluctant to give cover to anyone with pre-existing medical conditions – that is, anything that’s been diagnosed before you apply for insurance, such as having had a heart attack. It’s because people with pre-existing conditions are considered more likely to make a claim.
Providers always ask that you specify any health conditions before taking out a travel policy. If you do make a claim relating to a pre-existing health condition you didn’t mention, you won’t be able to claim and your policy may be invalid.
The NHS also recommends declaring all past and present health conditions to make sure you get the specific travel insurance for your needs.
What can travel insurance for someone with a heart condition cover?
Providers that offer insurance for pre-existing conditions can cover heart conditions from angina and cardiomyopathy to cardiac arrhythmia and most things in between. And they also provide the same bells and whistles as regular policies – coverage for lost bags and cancellations for example.
How can I travel safely with a heart condition?
The NHS suggests prepping at least four to six weeks before you travel to sort out your destination, your travel insurance and any pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). To keep you safe, it’s also worth taking a few other precautions:
- See your doctor – get advice from your doctor to make sure you’re getting the right coverage for your condition, and to make sure you’re OK to travel.
- Check for local healthcare – scope out the nearest hospital before you book your trip. While a hospital doesn’t need to dictate exactly where you stay, it’s a good idea to stay close to a doctor, just in case.
- Pack your medication – always bring extra medication and spread it between your suitcase and hand luggage so you have plenty to tide you over in case one is lost.