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Shannonslattery, August 7,  2016  5:54am EST

Afib and air plane travel

my company wants me to travel from Seattle to Chicago for a meeting. I was diagnosed with Afib 6 months ago, my IR told me to live a normal life. I am taking a beta blocker daily, I am worried that air travel could cause a Afib attack? Please let me know your experience with air travel.
  • mamazipp
    mamazipp, August 7,  2016  10:50pm EST
    I can certainly understand your anxiety about air travel.  I can only offer my personal experience..  I had a first and very symptomatic AFIB attack while traveling in Israel in Oct. 2014.  I was taken by ambulance to the ER there..  and it was a very frightening experience for me. Luckily I converted spontaneously, but was put on Coumadin.  I did not feel I could continue my trip and monitor the Coumadin so I elected to cancel my trip and fly back to NY 2 days later.  I was pretty shaken up, but wanted to be safe at home, so I took the 11 or so hour flight back to NY.  I had absolutely no further episode  on the plane, nor any when I took the rest of my flight back to Victoria, BC about a week later.  So, flying per se isn't that frightening to me.  Traveling somewhere where I can't access health care easily frightens me.  I realize we are all different with different triggers.  I was careful to avoid caffeine and wine on the plane.....although caffeine has not been a problem I didn't want to risk anything.  I would suggest you speak to your Cardiologist or EP about any  concerns.
  • bfboca
    bfboca, August 8,  2016  1:24am EST
    Re: travel from Seattle to Chicago with paroxysmal Afib.  Not to worry.  There's no reason a short flight like this should cause you an event.  Flight air pressure puts us at about a 7000 foot altitude but it's just for a few hours.  Granted you're coming from a sea level area but the air pressure change for you simply shouldn't be any problem.  Good idea for you to reserve an aisle seat and get up a few times to hit the restroom which you'll need anyways cuz you should keep drinking water both while waiting prior to boarding and also during the flight.  So stay extra hydrated prior to and during the flight and get up a few times to stretch your legs, etc.  also, if you're gonna worry about your air travel causing an event, I'd strongly suggest taking  Xanax prior to boarding and that'll reduce your stress levels plus wear off by the time you land in Chicago.i have paroxysmal Afib also, live in SE FL at sea level and fly to your west coast a few times per year with never a problem.  Your biggest problem in flying nowadays anyway is the long TSA lines.  Have a nice flight to Chicago, enjoy the pIzza and try and get to a Cubs game.  This could be the year, wait for it, the Cubs go all the way.  Bob
  • GMuller41
    GMuller41, August 8,  2016  3:16am EST
    ShannonslatteryI fly regularly (national and international) and have had Paroxysmal Afib for about 7 years.The flights themselves have  posed no apparent triggering, what has is the trip to the airport (traffic jams) and the various tensions that the entire check-in/security process presents. To address all this I take a Xanax at the start of the trip to the airport and since doing so have had only a few instances of Afib associated with flights.However, I have had on a few instances the apperance of Afib while over the Atlantic in a darkened cabin with hours still to go. It lasted well after landing and didn't go away until at the hotel. I got used to it.As your IR said, live normally.
  • zippy
    zippy, August 8,  2016  4:51am EST
    Regarding air travel - make it easy on yourself~!I travel from Austin to CA and other locations regularly - the flights are about 4 hours - I prefer non-stop, no plane changes because it is easier.I've learned to check in at the curb, take a wheelchair at the curb, and the whole process is much easier.  They'll get you thru security quickly and efficiently, and to the gate.  Take the wheelchair all the way to the entry to the plane.  Have them meet you on the other end with wheelchair, they'll take you to baggage claim, to your rental car, etc.Yes, one might have to get over their pride or ego to take a wheelchair - I got over it real fast when I was completely out of breath and had to stop several times, just walking to the baggage claim area.  NOT good.  Since then, I just ask for and receive assistance.  Everyone is really great about it.  Yes, I do tip the person pushing the chair, the baggage guy, etc.  To me, their assistance is priceless~!!The flights, for me, aren't the issue. It's getting thru the airport, so, by using a wheelchair and getting help with bags, I can travel pretty easily, even though it can be tiring.  Travel the day before, rest up that night, and you'll be fine the next day.  Travel home the day AFTER your event/meeting/conference - again, much easier.I do allow lots of time, and am typically at the gate a full hour before boarding time.  I would MUCH rather just sit and wait than have to rush.  It's the rushing, walking fast, and physical exertion that makes air travel hard, so just plan ahead and avoid it.If you have a CPAP machine, definitely take it with you~!  Security will most likely have you remove it from the bag, (don't forget to empty the water from the CPAP)  so I like to make sure my face mask is protected, or, you can even put it in your checked bag. I prefer to carry my meds and CPAP in a small carry on bag, so I know I have them both with me at all times - gives me peace of mind.Enjoy your flights~!Zippy
  • Diopter
    Diopter, August 8,  2016  6:13am EST
    Have had AFib last four years. Have had a cardioversion and went on Tikosyn about two years ago. Of course we are all different, but I have had no problem when flying. Live in OH, have flown to FL a couple of times and we flew to Isreal in March.  Thankfully, I am able to lead a normal life. As long as you have your doctor's approval for an activity, live a normal life.
  • Larkspur
    Larkspur, August 8,  2016  9:42am EST
    Another tip is to wear knee high compression socks. They help with blood circulation which can be important on an airplane.
  • normpel
    normpel, August 8,  2016  11:45am EST
    You should have no problem.  I just returned from air travel and I have persistent a-fib. I did not notice anything different from previous travel..
  • Keithf4099
    Keithf4099, August 8,  2016  12:06pm EST
    Hi, I have had Afib (three or four days every four to six weeks) and have had no trouble flying. We are leaving on vacation Wednesday and I am going with or without Afib. I am on Pradaxa and several other meds. As several others mentioned, sometimes the stress of getting ready will trigger the afib, but not the flight.Keith
  • Trish
    Trish, August 9,  2016  3:48am EST
    I fly a lot and never had a problem. Lots of water=lots of bathroom breaks= moving around. Take your trips and live your life. Think afib is a manageable " disease" and the anxiety it causes can be disabling. Anyone out there with info on acidity/alkalinity diets? Sounds like overriding acidity could be a factor in afib trigger. GERD is a trigger so getting the balance right could eliminate one possible trigger. I keep trying to figure this thing out but the variables are to all, Trish, seeker of knowledge
  • K9Trainer
    K9Trainer, August 10,  2016  3:39am EST
    I always wear Compression socks, hydrate before n after... always take 81 mg aspirin  n 500mg Magnesium
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