PAF travel and a problem on my way - AF Association

AF Association

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PAF travel and a problem on my way


OK so after several months of just minor instances I am becoming increasingly worse with my heart rate to what I know is to come, which is a visit to Emergency. I am due to fly overseas in 6 weeks for a months holiday in the States, England, Paris and Dubai. I can only hope it happens before I go otherwise I am well and truly screwed as travel insurance does not and will never cover preexisting conditions from Australia. Any thoughts on how I can arrest the problem. There is no reason for my attacks except may sleep which seems to be my trigger. I am due to have an ablation in October.

17 Replies

My heart and pulse rate are high too ! Do you really have to travel ? There is now way I would even attempt to go very far fom home in my condition. I have recently had to turn down a good buisness deal as it required me to go down to Nottingham for a meeting, I live in the Highlands of Scotland and it is a full days travel to get down south to England. I would wait until you have had your treatment before making big travel plans :( Flying could be especially dangerous if you can't get your breath like I can't alot of the time. have a UK holiday for now and fly abroad later is my advice :) X

I don't know about travel insurance in Australia but, in the UK, you can get insurance that will cover you for pre-existing consitions. It is a pain to answer all the questions and it will cost more - possibly a lot more - which is reasonable considering the risks they are taking.

If you have to travel, you need to do some research....


I know it sounds silly, but I also know it wont kill me yet, I cant take what I have with me and I dont want to miss out on life by letting this hold me back. At 60 I am still 40. The plans we made are 8 months old and to be honest I could have gone down the track of letting this rule me, but I wont let this stop me, I am getting treatment from my doctor before I go, I was hoping if anyone had advice on how to ease the cycling of the symptoms. Relaxation helps me, and the flight generally doesn't bother me, I had a serious bout prior to my last flight 12 months ago, and as long as I take the blood thinners and verapamil, I should be ok. If I do happen to cark it, well, it will be doing something I want to do.

If you are on rhythm control and it is not working you could try rate control. I had to go through four rhythm control drugs each one worse and less effective on me than the last. I was put on rate control as a last resort but I found life much easier and felt much more normal. I have since had an ablation which has been even better. Rate control for many people is a good option and certainly seems to have a lot less side-effects.


I'm not sure any insurance, including the ones that cover pre-existing conditions, will hold cover if you are waiting for a procedure? I am probably wrong but worth checking. Certainly our insurers, who do cover pre-existing, would not cover my wife who was waiting for results of a test. But we were taking out a new policy.


MammaCass in reply to Hidden

Koll, All Clear Insurance covered me whilst waiting for my ablation, they were very reasonable too.


Re travel insurance for pre existing conditions in Australia, I have used Covermore. on a few occasions. Just complete the online survey for pre existing and pay the extra premium.

To clarify, I have AF and had two strokes. They will tell you whether the condition is covered or not.

If you are on an anticoag that requires blood tests, warfarin or coumadin I don't think they will cover. If you are on another anticoagulant such as pradaxa then I have not had a problem.

Importantly I have not had to make a claim. I guess that would be the acid test.


To date I have not had to make any

Hidden in reply to robboian

Thanks Ian that helps, I am on clovix which is a milder form of thinner, I have travelled overseas with gay abandon and never really worried about the consequences, however it is a different story when 6 weeks out I am building up to a big bang. I know I have to have the ablation but I thought it better to have the trip then have the ablation to give myself time to get over it without worrying.

robboian in reply to Hidden


Good luck with the ablation. I had the procedure about eight weeks ago. Touch wood, I've pretty much been in sinus rhythm ever since. Have a portable ECG unit and I just love seeing those P waves. Am back to regular exercise but still keeping my heart rate under control.

At the moment I am still on Amiodorone so won't get too excited until that is withdrawn. So cautiously optimistic.

The procedure itself went well. I did need to stay in hospital an extra night as the catheter site (groin) bled a bit. The bruising took a couple of weeks to resolve but was not painful. Also had a sore throat for a few days, plus some chest soreness. All resolved uneventually.

So good luck.


I like you, didn't want AF. Stop me doing anything so consider the risks:- having an episode where you would need medical attention - ?has an episode in the past caused you to be hospitalised? ?see a doctor? If the answer is yes then you would need to pay directly. .?could you afford the medical fees? If the answer was yes, then go, if no and you regularly need medical help, then no.

I visited USA last year when my AF was getting worse and had several episodes, 1 in Colarado and the other in Las Vagas and just rode them out' they both lasted about 8 hours and I wasn't up for much the next day but otherwise was fine.

And I had travel insurance and I was waiting for procedure. I had to shop around a lot to find one, so don't just assume and really do your homework, it was expensive, but less than a hospital bill in the US.

My advice would be pace yourself, avoid rushing around too much. Do NOT get dehydrated, especially at altitude or in hot temperatures, always carry a water bottle. Sleep propped up and not on yr left side and avoid eating large meals in the evening as sounds as though you may be vagal triggered.

Have fun.

Hidden in reply to CDreamer

Thanks Dreamer, the wedding we are going to is in Chicago, and I will have medical people around me for that leg of the trip, my handbag (daughter) is an ICU nurse, the new niece is also a nurse and so is her mother. I am not in need so to speak but your right about the hydration thanks for your advice, appreciated

I have had less AF since I started sleeping with two pillows - my AF comes on at night as well. And eat a banana every day, for the potassium. And I would back CDreamer's tip about not sleeping on your left side (or your front, I've found). You're ok in the UK because the NHS will always treat an emergency. I would have a good look around for insurance cover though because there are companies here that specialise in providing cover for people with existing illnesses. Try Googling 'insurance cover pre-existing conditions' and see what comes up...


Agree with CDreamer re hydration and that it sounds as if it is vagal AF- I have found that moderate exercise helps as have slow resting heart rate that lets the AF kick in- so do walk a lot on the plane. I asked an EP about travel and she said she thought it was the stress of the journey rather than altitude so to be well hydrated and keep active- also agree re not sleeping flat but for me, and others I have read about here, it is lying in the right side that is tricky- very slightly to the left is better!!

EP also said she advises short haul rather than long haul trips but I do understand how you feel- I think you have to be extra careful to organise everything so that you reduce last minute stresses of travel

Also look up all the vagal manouevres which may/ or may not ! help to stop an episode- bearing down, cold water etc

hope you have a great trip.

I think you have the right attitude in not letting AF run/ruin your life. I am awaiting my 4th ablation (September) and am just completing 2 1/2 mths in Cyprus. In August we go to Mexico for 2 weeks. During the last 3 years, nearly all of them in persistent AF and awaiting procedures, I have been to France, Outer Hebrides, Canada, Alaska, Italy and the USA. So far, I have managed to find worldwide travel insurance but never with the same company 2 years running as they hike the price up so much. It is a soul destroying task and not cheap! Both my cardiologist and EP have encouraged me to travel 'whilst I still can.'

It is very personal, and all depends on how comfortable you feel about the trip. Personally I left for my son's graduation from Switzerland to British Columbia CA. It was something we'd both worked towards for three years. Of course I did way too much before leaving and ending up exhausted the night before, stayed up TOO late to pack and woke up with rapid afib- 150-185. I had to choose whether to go to the airport or not. I did, I took my meds, and in about two hours everything slowed down.

The same thing happened in the US. The reason I chose to go through it (aside from my son), was what would I do at home? Sit down, take my meds, wait for them to kick in....

So, no pressure, it is purely your call. I only wanted to pipe in that many on this site have traveled with AF, and had episodes while traveling and we are still here to tell the story.

I hope it works out for you in either way, enjoy where you are! Best wishes..


Thank you all, there is no way I am staying home, too much to see and do, easy does it, the suggestions I have had helped, I have looked into the vagal maneuver and will wear my stockings take my meds and have looked at Insurance, I might behave moderately. I know that the actual PAF wont kill me just yet and I know I cant take what I have if I do cark it O/S however I can continue with life and bugger the sitting around to wait to see what might happen. I will have a wee bet and a couple of shows in Vegas, dance and sing at the hens night in Nashville, attend the wedding in Chicago, meander around south western England, travel to Paris and back, and visit Dubai on the way home. Karma willing all of that will have been, meant to be.

Thank You

I sleep on my left side with no problems. The jury on the vagal thing is still out as my GP or my EP doesn't recognize this precipitated reason for AF. (Even though we think different). AF can strike at any time. I only went to Manchester yesterday an my heart was all over the place when I got back and my AF is paroxsysmal for now. And consumption of alcohol plus the stress of travel can all add up to the big bang.

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