Whether you travel by road or air, the way you recover and the way your body reacts to the surgery will determine the safe time for you to travel after the surgery.
Air And Road Travel Safety Tips After Open Heart Surgery
Here are a few things you should keep in mind, whether you want to travel by road or air.
1. Car Travel
- If you are planning to resume travel by car and are going to drive yourself, wait for at least 4 weeks before you get in the driver’s seat. The biggest reason for this is that after the surgery, you will still have to take some amount of pain killers, and it is not safe to drive under the influence of medication.
- While you are on pain killers, your brain will not be as alert as it otherwise can be. As a result, your reaction time will be delayed and it can be potentially dangerous while you’re on the road. Also, if your surgery involved making an incision on the sternum, you will still have a wound around your breastbone area, which needs proper healing time. Once you do get back to driving, you can start by placing a small cushion around your breastbone area to avoid any injury from the seat belt. This will help to avoid any pain you may get from the seat belt.
- You can ride as a passenger as early as 2 weeks after the surgery, but make sure you first check with your doctor about it. Some people also start riding as passengers as early as a few days after the surgery, but please ensure your doctor is aware of the same. Wear a seat belt at all times and keep your breastbone area cushioned to avoid any injury.
2. Air Travel
- Various airlines have different policies regarding when it is safe to fly after an open heart surgery. Make sure you speak to the officials at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance, so that you are aware of their flying safety rules. To keep it safe in terms of your own health, avoid travelling by air for at least 4 weeks after you have the surgery. The main reason behind this is that it will mean you do not travel too far from your medical team, the one that treated you and performed the surgery.
- In the case of any emergency, it is always important that your doctors are aware of your condition, and the best team to take care of you in such a scenario will be the ones who were part of the surgery and treatment.
- Also, when you travel by flight, your heart can feel the pressure in the cabin once the aircraft reaches a certain height above sea level. While it may not happen in all cases, it is possible that you feel some pain and discomfort in your chest area. It is also possible that you may find it difficult to breathe.
Precautionary Tips For Travel
- Make sure you do not travel alone, and there is always someone with you, at least for the first few times that you travel after the surgery.
- Once you are back from the surgery, you will be at a higher risk of developing blood clots. To avoid that, make sure you drink a lot of water and stay hydrated, and also take occasional walking breaks in between.
- Always carry your entire medical record file with you, so that anyone who has to tend to you in the case of an emergency is aware of your medical history and condition.
- Wear clothes that are loose and will allow you to breathe easily.
- If you find it difficult to breathe you can ask your doctor about carrying a portable oxygen tank with you.
Our medical team and care professionals are trained to take care of patients after a heart surgery, right in the comfort of your home. Do make an appointment to know more.