ITP Support Association
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New here. Need response about flying with low platelets.

Hi, I am wondering if anyone on the boards regularly flies long distance, like across the ocean, with platelets hovering around zero. If so, what preparations did you make and did you do ok? Thanks

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My daughter frequently drops to 0 and we live overseas so fly longhaul frequently. We get bloods done a couple of weeks before flying to check levels - her consultants in both countries normally will give IVIG if she is below 20 and definitely if below 10. The challenge with v low platelets is if a bleed should occur mid flight (my daughter tends to have nosebleeds when levels low) with added factor of low cabin pressure it's definitely a scenario to try and avoid where possible! Hope that helps.

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I wasnt allowed to fly below 10,000 and carried tranexamic acid with me if low other times to help stop a bleed if it occured mid flight.I went back and forth oz to uk several times while under 50,000

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I was advised by my consultant that it was dangerous to fly with a count of below 1o, so had to cancel holiday at short notice.

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My platelets were at zero for ten days and then suddenly rebounded to over 300,000 within a few days after that. They have stayed at about 330,000 for the past 14 months. But my concern is that you never know if they might suddenly drop. We travel overseas a couple times a year. I guess my concern is could I safely get home from Europe or the Mediterranean at zero platelets or would I have to be stuck in a hotel for weeks. I carry emergency prednizone with me. Still worried about that.

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There is no evidence that a count as low as 20 has resulted in any evidence of internal bleeding during the lower air pressure during a flight. Anecdotal evidence evidence suggests 10 ,or even lower , is OK on short haul flights. The lower air pressure inside the aircraft is about the same as that at 5,000ft or so. EU citizens can get treatment in EU and ESA countries and some of the countries are excellent,and also an appropriate translation of what ITP is and what medication should not be given. The main problem comes fro the question---are you travelling against your Doctors orders? If you are then your private or holiday insurance is invalidated at counts below which your own doctor stipulates. In my case that is lower than 50., so then I travel at my own risk with no insurance,only on my EHCI card.

Hope that helps,but I cancelled a holiday at a count of 36. Derek

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I would certainly not leave on a vacation if my platelets were low. My only worry is being caught somewhere a long from home. I guess I better just hope it never happens! I think I would probably get on the plane even at zero.

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Hi there,

Irrespective of whether you are flying or not, a count of ten or below will usually see.an intervention from haematologists. It was made clear to me, although rare, a cranial hemorrhage is a real possibility. Please see your haematologist before you fly.

Best Wishes.

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I have rescue steroids I always carry. The thing is that I get a cbc done before I fly. There would be no reason to see a doctor if the count is 350,000. What is he going to say? I spoke to him before about this and he said that doctors disagree on when it was safe to fly. So ultimately, it is my call.

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Just found this which is very interesting: Airplane cabins are pressurized, but they're pressurized to about 8,000 feet (2,438 meters), not sea level. The higher the altitude, the less oxygen there is in the air [source: Travel Doctor]. Your blood tends to respond to a decrease in oxygen by increasing platelet count. Platelets are the particles in your blood that allow it to clot if you cut yourself. Platelets make the blood more viscous, which increases the chances of forming a clot.

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my daughter also travels often and her Dr. said no flying with under 20,000 absolutely not under 10,000. due to pressure and turbulence.

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I can understand the turbulence thing, certainly. When I was at zero, even putting my arms on an armrest gave me big bruises.

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