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International Travel with paroxysmal Afib?
I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AFib almost 4 months ago and have had 19 episodes since. Meds have reduced the episodes greatly, with the most recent 6 Afib episodes averaging 6 to 12 hours, once every 7 days. Over half have occurred between midnight and 6 am, so a sleep apnea study has been ordered. The episodes have not proven to be debilitating and have been dealt with by just limiting my activity.
My wife and I have been planning a much needed 2 week international trip to Spain and Majorca in October. My cardiologist didn't say no when I asked, but he didn't seem that enthusiastic either. His concern seemed to be more over the long flight at altitude serving as a trigger. He does not consider me to be as being at great risk of stroke since I have only a single risk factor. and am in good health other than a little overweight.
Is traveling internationally with Afib of high concern? Should I postpone the trip till my Afib episodes are under better control?
Spencer, July 24, 2019 5:14pm EST
I went on a short (2 weeks) armed camping trip with the military to a country with no operating government. Doc said it was ok as he said the AFib is not life-threatening. If something happened, I would have back in Ramstein Germany in no time at all. I was in the "rear with the gear" anyway, but I just think they wanted me to come. The medic checked me daily.
Since I have had my AFib for a while but was undetected, I think I probably completed three combat deployments with AFib. But the worst was a tour in the Pentagon.
In the Sunlight
Heartfe6878, July 24, 2019 5:22pm EST
I think that your question has great validity and think it needs to be looked into further. Ii also think that Travel insurance etc would be a great idea. Melanie had some great references for this a year or so ago...Have you worked up your sleep apnea and planning to travel with your gear? Also what about blood thinners ? On land one thing long flight another....Keep looking around will be interested to hear what you find and hope you will share with others.
depotdoug, July 25, 2019 2:42am EST
Interesting Spencer, PENTA-AFIB
Understand lots of stress in military Command Control. Have you ever asked your new EP if penta AFIB is curable? I’ve always thought flying long distances can affect circulation from sitting so much.
I’d like to take a jaunt back to countries of Jordan and Morocco 🇲🇦 w/wife but afraid of sitting sitting sitting hours. Depotdoug
Elise, July 25, 2019 8:32am EST
As long as you feel up for it, make the trip! There are ERs and doctors in Spain and Majorca if you need them.
My only daughter and my only grandson live in England, so I've made at least 3 overseas trips since I was diagnosed.
In May we went to Italy for a week and then to England. Up until one week before we left I was having 3 or 4 day bouts of tachycardia, AFib, and AFlutter. I was scheduled for cardioversions twice but self-converted the day before in both cases. My increased dosage of metopropol finally kicked in.
My EP was very supportive of my making the trip. I keep a one page summary of my cardiac history (reviewed and approved by my EP) and my medication list in my handbag at all times. I wear a medical alert bracelet. I research the location of hospitals before I leave. I take my CPAP and use it on the plane. I make a conscious effort to stay hydrated and well rested, which means I no longer try to pack 16 hours of activity into every day.
If you can manage to do so, fly business class. (Note to Spencer: that's not military business class ☺️) Being able to lie flat and get some sleep makes an enormous difference. And I don't know where you're flying from. I usually fly out of Atlanta, but I've seriously contemplated flying to New York or Boston, spending the night, and then doing the transatlantic flight. It's a couple of hours shorter, which makes a big difference to me, and there are a few daytime flights, which also makes a big difference.
Get good travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. There are several agencies that can help you choose the insurance coverage you need if you don't want to research it all on your own. I've been very happy with the tripinsurancestore, which helped me find coverage when I waited too long after making my first payment for the trip. http://tripinsurancestore.com/