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Heart patients 'can fly safely'

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People with heart conditions should be able to fly without problems, according to new guidance.

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There have been concerns in the past that people with such conditions should not fly, especially those who may be affected by the lower levels of oxygen in the plane’s cabin.

But the British Cardiac Society (BCS) says only a few conditions are likely to stop a patient from flying.

The new guidelines come after a government committee called for specific guidance for passengers, doctors and airlines in 2007.

The BSC says there is “no significant threat” to heart patients from air travel - and certainly not for medium or short-haul flights.

Even those with the most severe conditions can still fly if they follow the guidelines closely.

Some patients are advised they may need in-flight oxygen while those at high risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are told to take extra precautions, including wearing pressure stockings and taking a blood thinner other than aspirin.

Writing in the journal Heart, experts said: “Following this review of evidence and after due consideration, it is clear that there are few cardiovascular conditions that warrant the denial of fitness to fly as a passenger.

“Given the right aircraft, on-board equipment and appropriately qualified and experienced escort personnel, aircraft can act as flying intensive care units and carry extremely ill passengers.”

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