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Carefree Holidays

A long-awaited holiday is finally approaching. If you have a pacemaker, heart monitor, ICD or CRT device, you may be wondering if there are any restrictions on travel. Don’t worry! Whether you are flying, sailing, taking a train or driving, travel is generally easy if you plan ahead and take some precautions. In this section, you will find tips on what to ask your physician before you depart, how to go through airport security as well as a checklist of things to pack and think about before you head out.

Elderly couple packing their bags

It was much easier than I expected it would be. I simply showed my patient ID card at the security check, and they just used a handheld device instead. I was on my way pretty quickly.

Rolf Opulich, BIOTRONIK employee and ICD patient

Ready for Take-Off: Traveling Checklist

Before you embark on your trip, please consider: 

  • Have your patient identification card with you at all times.
  • Pack your medication and plan for a few extra days of supply to be on the safe side. If you are traveling by plane, put your medication in your carry-on luggage. 
  • Bring a list of your medical conditions and a list of your medications (including dosages).
  • If you are using BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring, bring your CardioMessenger so your data can be submitted to your physician from anywhere in the world. If you take a flight, make sure that the CardioMessenger is packed in your carry-on luggage.
  • Print out a list of important phone numbers, including the one of your doctor at home.
  • Keep your mobile phone handy and charged during your travels.
  • Consider adding critical medical information (i.e. medical conditions, emergency contacts) on your phone that, in case of an emergency, first responders can access directly from the lock screen.
  • If you are traveling to a foreign country, learn the emergency phone number at your destination.
  • Identify the nearest hospital at your travel destination can help with any issues regarding your cardiac implant  

Please consult with your doctor and care team before you leave so they can: 

  • Help you identify a doctor or hospital at your destination just in case you need care.
  • Help you plan the right level of exercise and activity during your vacation.
  • Help you think through any possible issues 

Selecting Your Travel Destination

Hot, humid and tropical climates put additional stress on the heart and blood vessels of patients with cardiovascular disease. Also, the heart needs more oxygen-rich blood at higher altitudes, even at rest, requiring the heart to pump harder. If you have high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or cardiac arrhythmia, you should therefore opt for destinations at lower altitudes in regions with milder climates. When choosing where to go, also consider the availability and quality of local healthcare. 

Which Travel Activities are Okay?

Patients with pacemakers and implanted defibrillators have few limitations on travel activities because of their device. An exception to that rule is scuba diving, which mostly is limited because of the device. In general, though, you should talk to your physician because your underlying heart disease or arrhythmia may well limit potential travel activities, such as hiking, skiing or cycling at high altitudes. 

Consult Your Physician

Before you travel, consult with your doctor about if you are medically fit to travel, and in which situations you should go to a hospital. Your physician can also provide information on hospitals at your travel destination that have experience with BIOTRONIK implants and can carry out tests if necessary.

Traveling by Plane

If you wish to fly, please inform the security staff or ground crew at the airport that you have an implanted heart device and present your patient identification card. The staff will instruct you what to do at the security checks. Metal detectors do not affect your device if you pass through them at normal pace. Your implant does, however, contain metal, and could trigger an alarm as you walk through a metal detector. Please also ask the staff not to scan you with a hand-held metal detector, or to avoid the chest area. On the flight, stay hydrated and move around from time to time.

Traveling by Car or Motorcycle

Air or rail travel is generally better tolerated than long car or motorcycle trips because you can walk around while traveling more frequently. Contact your physician before you embark on your vacation to check how fit you are to travel and drive, as there may be a necessary observation period, depending on your heart disease, the therapy and the country you are traveling to. 

Stay in Touch with Your Doctor, Even from Abroad

In case your pacemaker, heart monitor, ICD or CRT device uses BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring, your physician will be able to receive cardiovascular data from anywhere in the world while you travel. Your implant will send relevant clinical and technical data every day to your CardioMessenger transmitter which you need to bring along. Physicians can then access and review the data 24/7 – even if you are traveling in remote areas.  


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