British Heart Foundation
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Passing out/fainting on flight

Hi,

I am so hoping for some advice here or even just anyone who has experienced similar. Flew to Tenerife last Friday and during the flight passed out at least 5/6 times. My husband tells me as I have very little recollection that I was hot and clammy, nauseas , no colour, I could hear people around me but couldn’t see. All very frightening, have to say air crew were very good.

Doctor came to the hotel lots of tests all fine, no ecg but will visit my own gp when I get home. He advised to continue with heart Med isosorbide mononitrate but to stop Doxazosin blood pressure tablet this was only 1mg anyway. His diagnosis was that my blood pressure must have drastically dropped during flight, I sort of had guessed that. I am montoring my blood pressure everyday 126/83 pulse 61 today.

Obviously I am now a little worried about the flight home, so any advice or experiences would be very reassuring

Lizziepea

10 Replies
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Sorry to hear about your problem. I hope you managed to get some enjoyment out of your holiday.

May I ask if you had eaten before getting on the flight and had plenty to drink?

I wonder why no ECG was recorded, you could have an arrhythmia, meaning that your heart is going in and out of the normal rhythm which could cause your symptoms. Perhaps ask your GP if you could get a 24 hour ECG which is a wee box you carry around in a pouch which records your heart rate and rythmm from the electrodes placed on your chest.

Do you have any lung issues? If so, perhaps your oxygen level is dropping?

Sometimes disc problems in the neck can cause fainting?

Everything is purely speculative, you really need an MOT. I suggest getting an early appointment with your GP when you get home and ensure that you eat something and drink plenty of water on the way home. Let us know how you get on

Take care

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Hi,

Thank you for your reply, yes I had eaten and carry water with me all the time. It is the first time I have flown since starting on meds. Not aware of any other health issues. But I will go see GP as soon as I get home. Just need to remain calm and not freaked out by it!! Maybe a good job I have little recognition. Will let you know how I get on.

Kind regards

Anne

1 like
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Hi Lizziepea, I would guess low blood pressure as well, have you had any other experiences before? I know you mention in your previous post about fatigue and low blood pressure. Have you any compression socks with you? could you buy some at the airport as they may help you and drink more fluid on the flight

take care

Mark

3 likes
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Hi Mark,

Thank you for suggesting the socks can certainly try them. Yes I have suffered with blood pressure fluctuating just thought after 6 months of no problems I was stable.

Kind regards

Lizziepea

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Did you by any chance have an alcoholic drink, complimentary or otherwise, before or during the flight. Alcohol can cause a further reduction in blood pressure which combined with a slightly reduced cabin pressure might cause fainting. I suspect you would not have but mention it just in case.

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Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply, no alcoholic drink. I have been doing a bit of reading on this and apparently it is quite frequent occurrence on flights. Will seek advice when I get home. In the meantime will keep an eye on blood pressure.

Kind regards

Lizziepea

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Hi Lizziepea01, my husband has twice passed out on a plane, one just after take off on our to the Algarve & once on our way back from Spain before we even took off. Both times he' wasn't out for long but was very ill for the rest of the flight.,

After the Algarve flight he was taken to hospital & after various tests was discharged. He did however continue to have dizzy spells while we out there but was able to fly home OK. When we got back to UK he had a number of tests which were inconclusive but they fitted him with an ICD. After the Spanish flight we stayed overnight at an airport hotel, went to Dr's next day & was advised he had a virus, after a few days bed rest he was fine. We have flown a number of times between these episodes without any problems. Kevin is also on isosorbide monitrate l amongst other medication on and he's recently had it reduced as he's blood pressure was too low. We're flying out to Gibraltar this year so I've asked his nurse for advice & she said ensure you drink plenty of water, I know this works as dehydration reduces the BP considerably. Also, ask the cabin crew to keep the temperature in the cabin down, they did this for Kevin. Ensure you have plenty to rest & eat sensibly. Please try not to worry too much bout flying home you will ruin your holiday & & the chances are you will be fine. Keep in touch & let us know how things are xx

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Hi,

Thank you, your reply has done much to ease my mind. It is a really frightening experience and I felt so embarrassed I know I shouldn’t have but people were just so kind and that made me very emotional. I was so relieved to hear that your husband has had similar experiences but mostly that it hasn’t happened every time. That is very comforting.

I have bought a blood pressure machine here and it is fluctuating but never high. I am going to see the TUI representative here and just speak about flying home, as my husband and I are sat separately, isle seats only a row apart, but if possible would feel happier next to him!!

Kind regards

Lizziepea

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Hi the trip home from Spain was with TUI & they cleared a row of seats so Kevin could lay out as he felt he might go again, so definantely ask. I know what you mean about feeling embarrassed, when we were flying to to the Algarve the crew radio'd ahead & an ambulance was waiting on the tarmac for us. The other passengers were all held up while the paramedics sorted Kevin out but every one was so lovely & helpful getting our hand luggage for us etc. I take the view that it added to the excitement of their holiday & gave them a story to tell!! Certainly monitor your BP but please don't fixate on it unless it's very low, what readings are you getting? Remember drinking plenty of water is key, Kevin's BP often goes down to low 80's over low 50's, he just elevates his legs and drinks lots of water & that's gets it up in no time. Make sure you have plenty of rest, eat sensibly & enjoy your holiday. Xx

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Hi All,

Thankfully flew home with no problems. What a relief! My husband works away and had taken an extra day to go with me to the GP’s. But the GP refused to see me even after I had explained everything said I wasn’t considered urgent, gave me two options to see a practise nurse for blood pressure or go to A & E. I am sure they would have been happy to see me after 10 days.

I contacted my Cardiologist’s secretary and saw him late in the evening as a private patient. I have now had 24 hour tape and awaiting results. I am so hoping that this was an isolated incident.

Will keep you up to date. Would just like to thank you all who replied for giving me great comfort that week, when I was feeling pretty scared.

Lizziepea

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