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British Heart Foundation
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Short flight to Ireland

Now hubby is on the road to recovery after a quadruple bypass last Monday, does anyone have any advice about flying? The NHS say this should be OK after 10 days (RyanAir agree!!). The flight is a 45 minute flight and he's due to go on December 29th.

I know everyone's recovery rate is different but I don't want him to fly if there might be a problem. Any advice from this brilliant forum would be really appreciated. Thank you so much.

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Looking back over my ongoing recovery (5 months post quadruple) personally I would have struggled at two months. It wouldn't be the flight that concerns me but queueing to check in, etc... It's too early to know how fit he will be then.

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Hi Michael. I think its a bit too soon to look forward to the winter Leopardstown race meeting. Probably best to see how he's recovering after 3 weeks!! Thank you so much for your post. It really is appreciated xx

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Hi Handel

Nice to hear your hubby is recovering. We lived in Aberdeen and lots of people from the islands had by pass surgery and flew home after 4/5 days in the ARI. I know they are short flights and not a pressurised cabin, but no one questioned it !!!!

Regards

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Interesting. I live in Hampshire on the south coast. Southampton hospital, where I had my bypass, is also used by people from Jersey and Guernsey, so they too generally return on scheduled flights.

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Hi Prada. I think its a bit too soon to look forward to the winter Leopardstown race meeting though. Probably best to see how he's recovering after 3 weeks!! Thank you so much for your post. It really is appreciated xx

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Hi when l went to Spain l requested speedy check in (no queueing at all) in which was great and l wore flight socks so on such a short flight for you things will be fine. Have a great trip. Sue.

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Hello Kefalonia. I was just curious but so many people have said it'll be fine. H e was going to a horse race thing in Leopardstown with our two grown up kids. So early morning flight and late flight back with quite a bit of walking about in between! I guess it might be best to see how he is recovering before he makes the leap. On a plus point, it would do him the world of good to be doing something normal and enjoyable. xxx

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I would see how his recovery goes, flying might be fine, but sounds as though out and back in one day could be a bit much, could they not stay overnight? Definitely would consider arranging Wheelchair assistance at airport both ends, it would make it a lot easier for him, and reduces stress

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A stay overnight sounds the best option if he recovers enough to make it! Thanks so much for suggesting that - never crossed my mind!!! The bit about wheelchair assistance is pure gold. Thanks so much for your post xxx

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Depending on who he flies with, some companies have different levels of WCHR assistance , ask for WCHS.... means extra assistance if there are steps to flightbi stead of an air bridge. I speak from 36 years , ex BA CSD!

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No problem at all.Went to Cyprus after 1 month post 5xcabg go for it.xxx

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May I ask who you insured with? Many posts are from people having difficulty getting reasnoble travel insurance.

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Hi Michael. The next thing on my to do list is a travel insurance provider. It's only a day in Ireland so flight early morning and flight back late evening. Thanks for your post. Really appreciated. xx

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Sorry Michael JH can't remember which insurance company it was.I seem to choose a different one every time I fly.Always pick one off the net.

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Hello Ravaging. I was just curious but so many people have said it'll be fine. H e was going to a horse race thing in Leopardstown with our two grown up kids. So early morning flight and late flight back with quite a bit of walking about in between! I guess it might be best to see how he is recovering before he makes the leap. On a plus point, it would do him the world of good to be doing something normal and enjoyable. xxx

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What better way to go than with his 2 grown up kids.He will know when he has to rest and when he can push his self a bit more.Keep hydrated with plenty of Guinness.Love Wayne xxx

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Hi Wayne. Now that sounds like good advice! Thank you for cheering me up.

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10 days seems a bit short, not for safety reasons but just because of general discomfort following what is after all a very substantial operation.

On the other hand if your husband will be flying at six or seven weeks then I'd think he'll probably be fine. I'm at four weeks after a by pass, I'm off all painkillers and I'd be perfectly happy to take a 45 minute flight to Ireland. Everyone heals at a different rate, I get the impression I'm probably healing fractionally quicker than average, but not all that much. After all, many people are ready to return to work at six weeks after a bypass, so a 45 minute flight at this stage shouldn't be too demanding.

The one thing to look out for is carrying and lifting luggage, get your husband to request assistance with his luggage. His sternum will be less than 80% repaired at this stage, so he's still restricted to carrying no more than a couple of kilos tops.

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Whilst I was healed at two months my issue was excessive tiredness. I put this down to having had a longer than usual surgery, being quite unwell in the run up to surgery and the heatwave starting on discharge!

The weight limit is important as I met someone with an unstable stern nine months on. It seems it is more difficult to heal if you damage the surgeon's handiwork. After all it is equivalent to a serious fracture. A second's forgetfulness or impatience can take the sternum back to square one!

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Hi Michael

A little off topic but interesting how your surgery took longer than anticipated. I was on the ventilator a lot longer than " normal " due to being very slow in warming up. It was only when I saw the Channel 5 open heart surgery that I realised they cool you down with Slush !!! I just thought it was the perfusion machine that did that !!

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From what I understand my actual surgery was a little more complex and I was on the heart-lung machine for a while. In addition I needed a transfusion. However I came around with only wires, a couple of drips and a catheter attached. Then I developed an electrolyte imbalance which caused me to retain a lot of fluid. Got me walking to the loo quick once out of HDU! :)

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Thanks just wondered why

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Just a query Michael. How did you manage the pain and discomfort when sitting down or lying in bed at night? Hubby is so uncomfortable doing both! Thanks for your help xxx

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Sorry for delay in replying. I was in hospital for eight days. The day before discharge they dropped my pain killers to paracetamol only. At 11:00 pm I was in agony. I was then discharged with Tramadol which I gradually reduced to zero over the following two to three weeks. Being in pain actually slows recovery because people mobilise less, get sleep deprived and may not eat properly!

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Hi Michael. I hope you're much better than you were.

You're right about pain though. It's just debilitating and stops recovery in it's tracks. Thankfully, hubby is managing with paracetamol 4 times a day. Thanks so much for your post xx

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Hello Chappychap. I was just curious but so many people have said it'll be fine. H e was going to a horse race thing in Leopardstown with our two grown up kids. So early morning flight and late flight back with quite a bit of walking about in between! I guess it might be best to see how he is recovering before he makes the leap. On a plus point, it would do him the world of good to be doing something normal and enjoyable. xxx

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Ah, that's not quite what I understood from your original post, I'd assumed one 45 minute flight and that was that for the day. Instead it sounds like quite a busy schedule. I'd think twice before committing to an agenda like that, I'm sure it's safe enough but he might end up too exhausted to really enjoy it all that much.

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Hello Chappychat. Have you any ideas on pain and discomfort control when sitting or trying to sleep. Sleep is very elusive at the minute! Thanks so much for any hints and tips xxx

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It's such a personal thing and everyone's different, I doubt there's any one solution that suits everybody.

Four weeks after the bypass operation I don't take any painkillers and I'm getting seven or eight hours sleep a night, but it's in chunks of two or at the most three hours, with a half hour walk around, leg stretch, and a sit down in-between.

I sleep on my right hand side (if I sleep on my back I snore and wake myself up, if I sleep on my left side it hurts, and the medical reports I've read recommend that you don't sleep on your front until your sternum is fully healed at about 12 weeks post op.

I can sit for hours in a good office style chair without any discomfort, I use a Hermann Miller desk chair in front of my computer at home, but any decent office chair brand would offer similar adjustability and good lumbar support. I find much more than hour or two on a sofa or an easy chair gets pretty uncomfortable.

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That sounds really good advice. Thank you so much xxxx

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I think I recovered pretty quickly from my triple - I flew to China exactly 3 months post my op- but I would have been in no fit state to travel 10 days post op. It’s no so much the medical risk that is the issue - I was told it would be alright to fly one week post op- but it’s the shear exhaustion that gets you in the early days post op. The flight would be the least of it - it’ll be the trip to the airport, the airport queues and the seemingly endless walking from one side of the terminal to the other that will be the hardest part!

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You're right Steve. I don't think airlines even consider that. I was surprised that the NHS reckoned 10 days after bypass grafts, flying could go ahead. I think it's down to the individual. Thanks so much for your input. xxx

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I’ve been told not to worry about a short fight. Enjoying the holiday might be difficult tho. I’ve been told no longer than 8 hrs fight.

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Hiya. It's not actually a holiday (wished it was!!). He was hoping to fly to Ireland (with our 2 lads), go to a horse race meeting, and fly back all in one day. I think you're right about the enjoyment factor though. Thanks so much for your post xxx

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Hi, From my own experience, your hubby needs to make sure he doesn't carry anything heavy or try to lift bags into the overhead locker.

It is easy at airports to get too hot, as he will probably be wearing warm winter clothes, so he needs to make sure he doesn't get too hot and keeps well hydrated - plenty of water.

He should walk steadily (or request assistance on one of those buggies they have at airports).

Have a great trip.

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Hi Rockie. It's not actually a holiday (wished it was!!). He was hoping to fly to Ireland (with our 2 lads), go to a horse race meeting, and fly back all in one day. As it's Ryanair, there will be no need for hand luggage (or any luggage!). I think we'll need to play this one by ear really. He's only one week to the day post surgery!!!! Thanks so much for your post. I really appreciate your advice xxx

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The hospital’s are never really sure I’ve found. I believe they want you out of their care ASAP. I personally wouldn’t want to fly so soon, but everyone’s different. I knew someone to play tennis 2 days after a pacemaker fitting, but if you’re a “get up a go type,” gym, running, skiing, walking, you’ll hate being told what to do and make your own decision.

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He's definitely not a 'get up and go type' and he hates being told what to do at the best of times!!!

He was hoping to fly to Ireland (with our 2 lads), go to a horse race meeting, and fly back all in one day. As it's Ryanair, there will be no need for hand luggage (or any luggage!). I think we'll need to play this one by ear really. He's only one week to the day post surgery!!!! Thanks so much for your post. I really appreciate your advice xxx

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If he feels mentally wanting to do it, I’d do it he’ll have a great day at the horses. Tell him to stay off the lovely Guiness over there; good luck!

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He's going on 29th December (if he goes) so there's more time to recover I guess. He's got about 6 weeks or so. He hates Guinness but someone else posted 'stay hydrated - with Guinness'. I love this forum. The smiles keep coming!! Thank you so much for getting back to me. xxx

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I've only had 1 stent put in but was told if I fly I've got to wear flight socks

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I think those are probably like the anti embolism socks he's got to wear for 4 weeks. If he is well enough to fly and enjoy a day at the races in Ireland (and then fly back the same day!), I'll make sure he has those on. Thanks so much for your post xx

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After just 10 days it sounds risky. I suggest talking with his doctor or cardi nurse.

There is a lot of healing that is going on right now and exhaustion is not the friend of someone with bypass surgery especially after 10 days. The flights and the race may just too much right now for his body.

There is a reason behind why they don’t start cardio rehab 10 days after surgery. And then the rehab is staffed with professionals and each patient is closely monitored.

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Thanks so much. I think this is something that needs to be thought long and hard about. Hubby's review should be before Christmas. The more I think about it, the more I think the cardiac team should be making the decision based on progress so far.

It's only been a week since the operation (this time last week he was still in theatre)!!! I really hope he improves fast and can go to this race meeting in Ireland! xxxx

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Just a thought! Would it be an option to spend the night after the races in a hotel. A decent night's sleep and a late breakfast sound just the thing to recharge the batteries for the homeward journey!

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If your hubby feels up to it then there's no harm, as long as your boys realise they have to look after dad X even though he may resist!!

Book assistance at the airport, so walking is minimal.

With regards to sleeping, I'd suggest sleeping sitting up X

I found that trying to lie down was what caused me the most issues!

I was off of pain killers by the time I came home from hospital, ( not bypass for me, but I had valve replacement and aneurysm repair so very similar ops)

I can't abide paracetamol/ codeine and because of warfarin can't take ibuprofen or aspirin so I avoid painkillers as much as possible, and prefer to take arnica Montana instead.

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Thanks so much for the advice. He tries to sit up (4 pillows) in bed but can't get comfortable! I took one away last night and he didn't notice but dozed off with no trouble and had a couple of hours good sleep until he rolled over and woke himself up. Just got him comfy again and there were fitful naps but at least that's better than it was!

He's just taking paracetamol (codeine sent him loopy and seeing insects that weren't there climbing up and down the walls!!). He's a little worried that he has trouble spelling words (crossword) but that's normal I think. It's early days. This time last week he was in intensive care!!

I hope you're recovering well. Brilliant advice - thank you xxx

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I took books into hospital with me! ( Thinking I'd read 😂)

I think I read the same page 20times, couldn't remember a word of it!

It's the morphine, it can take months to get out if your system X.

So yes the spelling thing is normal X

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"He's just taking paracetamol (codeine sent him loopy and seeing insects that weren't there climbing up and down the walls!!)."

I had the same thing with Codeine. I reduced the dose to just one tablet at night and the hallucinations stopped. However, Codeine in conjunction with Paracetamol is a very effective pain killing combination and might really help your husband get some sleep, which in turn might help to get him moving around more, which in turn would help his lungs recover. So don't be too quick to abandon pain killers, used correctly they can be the key to a faster recovery.

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He's got a GP appointment on Monday so we'll discuss the options available as far as pain killers go. He's a little tentative at the moment. Codeine made him so sick as well as causing hallucinations.

I agree entirely with you. Pain relief is the main objective now.

Thank you so much for your post xxx

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Hi HappyJo. I got one of those on the advice of someone else on the forum a while back. Didn't think to put it on the bed though! Hubby uses it when he sits on the settee. I'll put the pillow upstairs tonight - thanks for mentioning that. xxxx

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Handel, you mentioned earlier that your husband would wear his anti embolism stockings if he flew. Does that mean he's not currently wearing them?

The advice I was given by the hospital was wear them constantly, day and night, until you've regained "normal mobility".

So what's normal mobility?

I don't know for sure, but my interpretation was when I could walk 30 minutes at a brisk pace, easily go up and down stairs, and the swelling on the leg where the vein was harvested had at least begun to reduce. Everyone's different, but for me those conditions were met four weeks after the operation. And I was mightily relieved to get rid of the stockings!

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Hi Chappychap. He's still wearing the anti embolism stockings/socks and will be for another 3 weeks (the little informative booklet he was given states 'wear for 4 weeks after discharge and only take off for half an hour if having a bath or shower').

Any secrets you have about putting these on easily would be a great help!!

Surprised to see youtube has a video or two on this!!

xxx

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Hi. I've just seem your post. My husband had a triple bypass 4 years ago.

My concern would be that your husband would be standing outside in very cold conditions (I'm from Ireland) at the racecourse. My husband was told to avoid very cold or very hot temperatures after his op. Cold makes the blood thicken, risking clot formation.

All the best for a full recovery to him.

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That's brilliant advice. No one ever tells you that but if you think, it makes sense.

Thank you so much for your help xxx

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And as for the stockings, they were a nightmare to put on. He couldn't put them on himself so I had to do it. I told my husband it was like trying to put a condom on an elephant.

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Thanks for clarifying that, much appreciated.

It seems every hospital issues their own advice to bypass patients, and some cover some things in more detail than others. It would be interesting to see more than one of these leaflets to get a more complete picture.

As far as I know the only one that's on-line is the booklet from Guy's Hospital, which you can read here,

guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/reso...

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Superb Chappychap. You're a Godsend xxxx

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Just read the information on the link you sent. We have a nice shiny booklet from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire which gives the same information.

Once again, thank you so much xxx

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