British Heart Foundation
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Warfarin v altitude

Hi, in 2014 I had a mechanical aortic valve fitted along with an aortic route replacement. I now take warfarin with an INR target of 3.

I'm planning a mountain biking trip to the alps in 2019 (I am aware of the risks) but have been told I cant do altitude when on warfarin for my condition. The problem is no one can tell me at what height does altitude become a problem. From extensive geeking I've come up with a figure of 2400 metres but not sure if this is correct. Any thoughts?

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I am dubious that anyone here has sufficient knowledge to answer your question. You probably need to speak to a cardiologist although the BHF nurses might be a good starting point. One point I would make is that if you are going to undertake this you need to be self monitoring INR levels so that whilst undertaking this you can check your levels with a much increased frequency to try and avoid a thrombotic event. The height above sea level you mentioned is similar to that of Machu Picchu and I know of a number of people who have become ill when visiting because of the altitude - one even died! Do not underestimate the issue!

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The highest point on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is 4200 m known as ‘dead woman’s pass’ - glad I did it whilst I had the chance before all this heart nonsense.

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Thanks for your reply. Some helpful points to consider whilst looking into this further.

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