AF and altitude?

Hello all,

We are thinking of a holiday in the French Alps, staying in Chamonix. Part of the tour would involve going up Mont Blanc in a cable car (not trekking!)

Just wondering if the altitude will affect my PAF, or would it just be a case of getting breathless more easily when walking?

Anyone any experience of this

Beancounter - (Ian) – I know you are PAF like me, can you advise please? You seem to do a bit of travelling but I get the impression it’s more to the Far East…not sure if you ‘do’ mountains?!! ; )


25 Replies

  • Altitude increases the work load of the heart as there is less oxygen available to breath so you may well become even more breathless. Personally I would go for the experience. Hot weather affects just as badly and one can't go on in life avoiding doing things that one might enjoy just because it may be difficult. Enjoy and send us a postcard.

  • Cheers Bob, I knew I would get a common sense reply from you!! At least, knowing in advance, kind of removes the 'fear factor', if you know what I mean? Knowledge is good! : )

  • Hi WB

    You'll probably be flying at 30000 feet anyway - not sure ifs the same thing but worth bearing in mind. We're off to Australia in 2 weeks time - I have an operation due in May for a hernia and last week was diagnosed with prostate cancer - so the PAF rather takes a bit of a back seat I've told it to keep quiet 😀 and thanks to my ablations it has for a while.

    I have no medical advice to give - just enjoy yourself and take all reasonable precautions and care - am sure you're body will be quick to tell you if you do to much.

    I may well be starting HRT before we go but no surgeon or doctor has advised against travelling.

    Take care and best wishes


  • So sorry to hear about the prostate- hope your treatment go very well- enjoy your trip

  • Airplanes are pressurized @ about 8000 feet. Can't remember Mont Blanc's height, but I'm questing you will be fine. The ride to the top is beautiful, so go for it.

  • Ah...thanks for your good wishes!

  • Hello KJ

    I shall be extremely worried if Eurostar is flying at 30000 feet!!! Will PM you.

  • I had that six years ago John. Had the operation. 33 days of radiotherapy and three years of zoladex (hormones) . Result is PSA undetectable. Remember the mantra;- all men die with prostate cancer the secret is not to die from it!

    Courage mon ami.


  • Thanks Bob. Excellent advice as ever which I agree with. and shall follow. I nearly didn't mention it as I didn't want to hijack WB 's important thread.

    Thanks anyway.

  • Hello Wightbaby. I went up to 14,000ft in the Hymalayas 6 years ago with AF. we only stayed for a few hours but I felt fine. As Bob said.I would be inclined to go for the experience

    I expectl be on the Isle of Wight at the end of the month for a few days. Might you be avail. to meet up for a coffee.


  • Will PM you about this!

  • I will be pleased to hear your experience. My daughter was emigrating to Canada but now moving to live in the French Alps, Sainte Foy. I assumed altitude would affect my af so did not expect to be able to visit.

    Hope holiday works for you.

  • Hello there Meadfoot,

    I am not sure exactly where Saint Foy is......but when we planned a holiday to Annecy (not the high alps I know!),my consultant said I might get a bit breathless there.......this was a couple of years ago and I wasn't PAF at the that time.

    While there I didn't notice any difference to be honest.....I was able to ride a bike on the old railway track (flat!). We also went up to the summit of Semnoz-5,574ft, I was a bit apprehensive, but it was fine.......this was on a bus, not on a bike, I hasten to add!!!

    We are all different, so best give it a try once she is there.....wish my son would move to the French Alps....lucky you!

  • Thanks Wightbaby for the info, Sainte foy base is 5090 feet summit 8000 ft or so I am told. Would prefer them going to live in Spain given the choice, not into winter sports and snow myself. I gather it's near Valdsaire.

    Enjoy your holiday. X

  • mean Val D' Isere!! My friends ski there every year!

  • Right. Not a clue about ski resorts being a warm holiday kind a gal.

  • Used to go to Les Arcs a lot for skiing (other side of the mountain from memory ) but not since knees gave out.. Very jealous!!!! Skied in Courmayoure (sp?) on the Italian side of Mont Blanc and that was great.

  • Hi Wightbaby, top of the cable car is 3842 metres, so pretty high and to be honest I think you can expect to be breathless. BUT you are not going to be there long, you're not thinking of running a 10,000 metres at that height, so you should be fine, just expect to take your time and take things slowly. I am told the views are magnificent.

    Be well


  • Cheers Ian.....I wonder if you checked that out? Yes, that is the height of the Aiguille du Midi and the views are supposed to be amazing!!!

    It would be a shame to not go up there, I feel! Just hope my husband is up for it too!! ( He got a bit dizzy walking up Snowdon!!) ; )

  • Hi flying shouldn't be a problem can't remember why but I've flown a lot and been ok. As for Alps I go with the majority enjoy we can't let it rule our lives ask docs however

  • Hi I went to Chamonix 2 years ago. The cable car was terrific. I am pretty for but, yes, I did get breathless. I think this is common as the altitude rise is fast and quite high. Make sure you stay on your meds and go for it. Unless your cardiologist advises otherwise.

  • I visited Mount Teide in the Canaries a year ago on a coach trip, and had the same concerns. However, I did not have any problems with the altitude, since I took it easy up there and strolled around at my own pace. Do make sure that you check your travel insurance, though, as there were altitude restrictions on mine (AllClear, I think). Listen to your body and enjoy your trip!

  • i am not sure of your age or other conditions. but i took a spontaneous trip to the west coast in july of last year. 7ooo miles roadtrip to california and back in just 9 crazy days. upon returning home we passed thru colorado and the rockies and i was dreadfully ill from the altitude in frisco colorado. could not catch my breath, and we were in the car. i was quite surprised since this was not my first time in the mountains, but it made me very sick this last time. i am 53 years old. frisco colorado altitude is only 9000 ft. we stopped to get gas there and a quick bite to eat. i would take the tram if i were you. just be prepared to perhaps feel very air starved. i am pretty sure it will not kill you if you return to lower altitude after the "breathtaking" views. my experience may have been cumulative since we spent all day driving up and down mountain passes.

  • A couple years ago I spent a week snowboarding at Breckenridge while in PAF. Base is 10,000 ft, top over 12,000. I survived, although my companions did have to wait up for me to catch my breath fairly often. Also, I had some difficulty sleeping. I consulted my EP before the trip---he said my heart would be OK, & that he'd worry more about a hard blow to the head (I do wear a helmet) while on Pradaxa. He told me to just take it easy.

    I still recall when I went in for an ablation shortly after I got back. Anesthesiologist asked if I'd had a recent stress test, to which my EP responded, "He just spent a week snowboarding at Breckenridge---does that qualify?". Anesthesiologist just looked at me like I was crazy (a quick study!).

    Enjoy your trip (and take it easy!).


  • Thanks to everyone else who shared their experiences etc.....most enjoyable reading!!



You may also like...