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AFib and travel to Europe
Hello to all!
My husband, Kyle, has been diagnoses with AFib. He is currently on medication (beta blockers) and typically only has an occurance of AFib every 2-5 months.
We are traveling to Europe soon. I am anxious about my husband having a potential AFib occurance.
Of course this cannot be avoided, and we have plans in place: we have brought extra medicine, plan to increase water intake and get as much sleep on airplane as possible. However, I would love travel tips to avoid AFib and to be able to enjoy our trip to the fullest.
Jeanamo815, June 9, 2018 2:12pm EST
Hello, Dunnsydney21...welcome to our forum. It seems that you are making proper preparations for your upcoming trip to Europe with the necessary medicines, etc. If Kyle has identified any "triggers" for his a-fib, then of course he will want to avoid them. It is important of course to stay well hydrated. There are many good hospitals throughout Europe that are capable of caring for any a-fib episodes that might require attention. I think if you post again in the section of this forum AT HOME, that you will receive more responses and helpful ideas than by posting in TRAVEL AND LEISURE. It seems that more of our members read and post in the AT HOME section than most of the other categories. Our founder and moderator Mellanie True Hills travels internationally quite often and I think she will be a good resource for you as an advisor with helpful hints. She usually replies to posts like yours if she is not attending a conference. There are other members of our community who also travel often and can be of help too.
I hope you and your husband have a wonderful trip and that everything goes well while you are there!
Wishing you the best,
(My A-fib Experience Community Leader)
MellanieSAF, June 9, 2018 3:46pm EST
Staying properly hydrated is probably the single most important thing to do when traveling. Also, try to avoid getting overly tired as that is when afib will sneak up on you. So, pace yourselves.
P.S. This article has some of my tips regarding avoiding dehydration: Can Avoiding Dehydration Prevent Atrial Fibrillation “Holiday Heart Syndrome”?
Elise, June 10, 2018 9:33am EST
Make sure you have travel insurance and make sure it covers pre-existing conditions. If you have trouble finding trip insurance that covers pre-existing conditions there are several good websites that help you find the coverage you need. The one I have used is tripinsurancestore.com.
Make sure you have a simple but complete emergency medical information document detailing his condition and any other medical issues he has, the drugs he takes, and contact information for his cardiologist. I fold mine up and keep it with my passport, which is with me at all times. I also keep a copy of my emergency info on my phone as well.
As Melanie says, pace yourself and stay hydrated. Carry water with you when you're out and about. And watch the rich meals and great wine. Big meals late at night have been a trigger for me.
Then relax and enjoy. I just got back from a 4 week trip to England with no incidents. I was careful not to overschedule myself: no marathon sightseeing and an afternoon rest most days.
Have a great time!
MellanieSAF, June 10, 2018 11:39am EST
Good points. Some of those are things I take for granted because I do them for all domestic and international travel, and I'm on the road all the time. For example, I print out and carry copies of my medical info card and emergency contacts (that I update often) with me everywhere - copies in my purse, suitcase, computer bag, etc. It has all my pertinent medical info on it, including my allergies. I also print my food allergies and carry many copies of that with me, and learn the words for my life-threatening allergies (bell pepper) in the native language.
I also wear a medical ID bracelet everywhere. It is engraved with my name, emergency contact phone numbers, medication allergy, and the blood thinner I am on. Most medical personnel I've dealt with speak English as that is the universal language of medicine, so I haven't translated it to other languages, but if you're going someplace where English is not common, translating your medical info to the local language might be of use.
Regarding insurance, that is something I take for granted as well since I have triple redundancy there (I don't want to have to think about those additional things for my frequent international trips). (1) I have a MedJet (https://medjetassist.com/) subscription that renews annually that will evacuate you to your home hospital from anywhere in the world, and will advise and loan you cash to handle medical emergencies. (2) Amex business card provides some advice on medical services and cash loans to cover medical costs as well. (3) I chose Medicare supplemental Plan F because it covers international medical care, which was crucial for me.
One more thing is that my international trips are usually to medical conferences (that are conducted in English) and if I have problems, there are hundreds or thousands of EPs, cardiologists, nurses, and surgeons in attendance, so that adds to my feeling of security as well. And, many of the world's top expert afib doctors are my friends, and they are usually in attendance at the conferences I am attending. But, having a way to find an English-speaking doctor locally is always important; thus I use Amex and MedJet for that. And, now that my cell phone can use my domestic voice/text/data allowances for $10/day internationally, I usually keep that turned on for safety and security as well and keep handy the phone numbers of some of my doctor friends who are at the same conference as a safety measure. But, I am almost always traveling alone - traveling as a couple makes that less of a necessity.
There are probably many other things to think about, but I try to put those things on autopilot so I don't have to think about them before every trip.
rogers, March 6, 2019 3:29am EST
When we were traveling to Eastern Europe, first thing we did before the trip was talking to our doctor. Waht we were told is that my husband should wear his medical ID bracelet, or carry his card; and when we are passing through the airport control, tell the security about his implant so that he wouldn't have to go through metal detectors; and one more tip was to be active but not too much -- sitting for a long time increases the risks; always carry water and watch out for symptoms (you can read a lot also at https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/ but still shouldn't skip a visit to your cardiologist). Our trip went smoothly. But also I've noticed that in the hotel we were staying in Kiev (https://www.phnr.com/en ) there was a situation when a guest had a cardiac arrest but the staff actually knew what to do -- first they called emergency medical services and then they got an automated external defibrillator. They saved the guy