Traveling With a CRT-P, CRT-D or LVAD
Generally, traveling with a cardiac device or remote monitoring system is safe. Planning in advance, and communicating with your doctor, your loved ones and travel companions can allow you to enjoy your trip with confidence.
First, consult with your doctor
It is important to notify your doctor about your plans. He or she can:
- Help you find a doctor to connect with at your destination, just in case you need care. This is especially important if you will be away for more than a month.
- Help you think through how to manage any possible issues. This can include what to do if you:
- Receive a notifier alert from your CRT-P or CRT-D
- Receive a shock from your CRT-D
- Provide you with any other information that might be relevant.
- Plan for the right level or exercise or activity while you are away.
What to bring with you
In addition to following other recommendations from your doctor:
- Pack any medications; bring about a week’s more than you expect to need for the trip. If traveling by plane, pack your medication in your carry-on, in case of lost luggage.
- Pack any accessories you may have for your device
- Bring a photocopy of the prescriptions your doctor wrote, or any insurance or pharmacy information related to your prescriptions, just in case you need to get prescriptions filled while away.
- Make sure to carry your patient device identification (ID) card wherever you go.
- Ask your doctor for the last printout from your device or monitoring system programmer at your most recent evaluation. Make sure to ask for versions in French, German or Spanish if you are going to countries where these languages are spoken. Italian, Japanese and Chinese printouts may be available for certain devices.
- If you are monitored remotely with the St. Jude Medical™ Merlin.net™ Patient Care Network and are scheduled for a follow-up during your trip, bring along your bedside transmitter.
If you will be traveling by plane, you can rest easy knowing that air travel, including passing through airports, is safe. Typically, security systems will not affect your device.
If you have a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), you may need to ask your doctor to notify the airline and security personnel that you will be traveling and have special needs.
When you go through security checkpoints:
- Move through metal detectors at a normal walking speed and do not pause for more than a few seconds.
- If your device sets off the detector, tell security personnel about it and present your ID card.
- If security personnel choose to use a handheld wand, ask them to move it over your device area quickly.
During your flight:
- Drink plenty of fluids such as water and juice.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating.
- Move around, and walk the aisle every hour or two when it is safe to do so.
- While sitting down, doing simple ankle rotations and leg movements will keep the blood circulating in your body.
Car and RV travel
Car travel is a fun and flexible way to get away.
- Tell family or a close friend where you will be going and what your route will be in case issues come up on the road.
- Keep your cell phone handy and charged if you have one, so you can be in touch any time you may need to be.
A great option for travel, cruise ships often have a doctor and medical services on board. Before booking your trip:
- Ask if the cruise ship provides medical resources.
- Find out if the ship offers group cruises for people with implanted devices.