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Traveling After Cardiac Surgery

Modern lifestyles have caused the incidence of cardiac problems to rise across the globe. Luckily, an advance in medicine has resulted in effective treatments for these problems. Often surgery is the best course of action. A major issue for those who have undergone cardiac surgery is that of traveling during the recovery period, which can, is some cases, be an extended period of time. While rest and relaxation are important, the patient will have to travel for regular checkups. Also, with a doctor’s approval, outings and social visits may help in the recovery process.


Traveling Safely

·         Do not travel alone, no matter how well you feel. A sudden attack of fatigue, dizziness or any of the common after effects of surgery could put you in danger. Always have someone with you who knows how to deal with these situations.

·         Do not carry anything even slightly heavy. Ask the driver of the vehicle you are traveling to do the carrying.

·         If you are going on a long trip, try to stop every hour and walk for a while. After surgery, the body is inflamed and more likely to develop blood clots if it remains immobile for too long.

·         Carry water with you. If the body is dehydrated, the risk of developing blood clots increases.

·         Unless the doctor has advised wearing tight fitting clothes, wear those that are loose fitting. These will not restrict the circulation and reduce the chances of blood pooling the lower extremities.
·         Check with the doctor if it would be advisable for you to carry supplementary oxygen with you, especially during the early stage of recovery. If so, travel in a vehicle where an oxygen tank can be easily transported and where it will be easily available if you should need it.

Overconfidence Is Dangerous

Doctors encourage patients to be positive about their health and the recovery process.  Needless worry and imagined problems can hamper the process. On the other hand, it is also easy to become overconfident and start to do too much too soon. Even if you think you are well enough to hop into a taxi when you need to go out, your body may not be ready for it, even if there are no obvious signs of distress. Check with the doctor about when you can start traveling and how much you can do.

Finding the Right Way to Travel


In the early stages of recovery, when the patient is in a wheelchair, travel by car is not advisable. Transferring from the wheelchair to the car and then back again at the destination should be avoided. It is much safer to use Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) which will provide special vehicles for those in wheelchairs and other mobility assistance devices. The drivers of these services are specially trained in transporting those who are unwell or recovering from surgery and will be able to provide any special assistance that may be required. When choosing an NEMT, it is important to check the company’s experience, credentials, the types of vehicles available and references from other users. A person recovering from cardiac surgery should not have to worry about the quality of the transportation service he is using.

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