The cardiac devices itself have nearly no limits when travelling. In general, it is the underlying heart disease or arrhythmia that limits patients’ travel activities. Therefore, before traveling consult your treating cardiologist to discuss any limitations for the planned holiday. It may make sense to have a device check-up, especially for long journeys.
It is reasonable to travel after device implantation only after wound healing is complete because arm movement on the implantation site is limited and the risk of wound infection and lead dislocation is elevated in the phase early after device implantation. Nevertheless, if necessary, flying is possible two days after an uncomplicated implantation if pneumothorax (air in the space between your lung and chest wall that pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse) can be excluded.
Security checks, including metal detectors and body scanners, can be passed safely by patients with cardiac devices. Only repetitive movement of a handheld metal detector over the device should be avoided. Nevertheless, since there is a potential interaction between the metal detector and the cardiac device, it is advised to identify yourself as having a cardiac device with your device ID/passport. It is recommended to have an English card when traveling internationally.
When traveling to different time zones it might be reasonable to deactivate a programmed sleep rate.
Always carry the policy number of your medical and travel insurance with you and your European health insurance card which you can use to prove that you are entitled to medical care. Furthermore, it is recommended to bring with you when you travel with a cardiac device:
Overview of your medical history and medication
Phone number of your treating hospital
Health insurance and travel insurance details, including emergence phone numbers
Phone number of the manufacturer of your device
Cardiac device ID/passport
Especially in the case of ICD, it is wise, before you go on holiday, to check whether there will be hospitals nearby that you can go to in case of an emergency. The following manufacturers of cardiac devices provide a list of hospitals across the world that are equipped for caring for patients with such devices: