Planning to travel with atrial fibrillation?


Planning to travel with atrial fibrillation?

Take extra care when planning trips if you’re living with AFib.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Atrial fibrillation — also called AFib — is a common heart rhythm disorder. If you have AFib, you may have some concerns about traveling with your condition. But taking a few steps to prepare may help you have an enjoyable and worry-free trip.

Before you travel, ask your health care provider any questions you have about traveling with AFib. Ask if there is anything you need to consider before and during your trip.

Travel tips with atrial fibrillation

Remember these helpful tips:

  • Bring your medicines. Bring all of the medications you’ll need for your trip. Keep them in your carry-on luggage.
  • Carry a list of your medicines. Having a list of your medicines will make it easier to refill them if you run out of them or lose them.
  • Take your time. Get to the airport early to give yourself plenty of time before your plane is due to depart. Anxiety can sometimes trigger irregular heartbeats.
  • Bring your care provider’s phone number. Write the number on a piece of paper. Also store the number in your phone when you travel.
  • Ask about a medical alert bracelet. Your provider may recommend that you wear a medical alert bracelet that has information about your condition on it.
  • Take steps to prevent blood clots. During your flight, stand and walk when you can to prevent blood clots in your legs. Your health care provider also may recommend that you wear compression stockings.
  • Find medical centers close to your travel destination. Before your trip begins, learn where the closest hospital or doctor’s office is at your destination. Find out what services your health insurance will cover. This can help prepare you in case of an emergency.
  • Check the contact information for embassies. If you’re traveling internationally, bring the address and contact information of the U.S. embassies or consulates in the countries where you’ll be staying. They can help with medical care in the area and offer general advice.
  • Buy travel health insurance. Buy travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance before your trip in case of an emergency while traveling overseas.
  • Watch for side effects of blood thinners. If you’re taking warfarin (Jantoven), you’ll need regular blood tests to monitor its effects. Check with your provider to see if you’ll need blood tests while you’re away. If you take other types of prescription blood thinners, continue to take the medicine as directed.
  • Ask about high altitudes.If you’re going to visit a high-altitude location, such as the mountains, check with your provider first. High altitudes may worsen some irregular heart rhythms. Your care provider may suggest that you rest and lower your activity level for several days after arriving at a high altitude. Also, watch for any new or unusual symptoms of your condition or of altitude sickness.
  • Get recommended vaccines. Know which vaccines are required at your destination.

It’s important to follow your atrial fibrillation treatment plan. If AFib isn’t well controlled, it may lead to complications, including strokes and heart failure. With some planning, you can enjoy your travels and live an active life with atrial fibrillation.

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Nov. 11, 2022

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