Fit for air travel?

By  |  February 19, 2009 | 

Since some patients being discharged from the hospital will require air travel, this review from the Lancet offers some tangible advice on who is fit for travel (abstract). The notable recommendations include to defer air travel for 14 days after any major surgery and for 7-10 days after a bowel obstruction or diverticulitis. For patients with feeding tubes, urinary catheters, or tracheal tubes, the cuff should be inflated with water instead of air, to avoid gas expansion and rupture. For DVT prevention, they recommend hydration, compression stockings, and ambulation for any flight lasting > 4 hours. In general, the cardiopulmonary “fitness test” for safe travel includes being able to walk 50m or 1 flight of stairs without angina or significant dyspnea.

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About the Author:

Danielle Scheurer
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.

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