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Travel Advice from the Irish Heart Foundation

With the summer holidays on the horizon, the Irish Heart Foundation, in partnership with Life Pharmacy, are pleased to today issue clear and straight-forward information on travelling abroad to those who have had a stroke or who are living with a heart condition. 

This will help ensure that people get to make the most of their break and that their condition continues to be stable and well-controlled. 

Top 5 Irish Heart Foundation/Life Pharmacy Travel Dos and Don'ts for People living with Heart Disease or who have had a Stroke


1. DO speak to your medical advisor first before travelling—generally, it's advisable not to go on long journeys or trips abroad for six to eight weeks after a heart attack or stroke

2. DO remember to carry your identification card when travelling if you have an internal defibrillator or pacemaker, so that you can show this to security staff and ask to be hand-searched

3. DO keep extra supplies of your medication in your hand luggage in case your stowed luggage gets delayed

4. DO check out travel insurance in good time as it can take time to arrange, and travel insurance for people with pre-existing conditions can be more complex to organise

5. DO book assistance with the airport or airline well in advance, if you think you'll need support at the terminal or during the flight; try to pack lightly and use a suitcase with wheels


1. DON'T travel to places that are too hilly or undertake activities that are too vigorous unless you have fully recovered and are fit enough for that level of activity 

2. DON'T travel to places where there are extreme temperatures, whether very hot or very cold, as these can put an added strain on the heart and don't travel to countries at an altitude of over 2,000 metres as the reduced air oxygen levels can cause breathlessness or angina

3. DON'T get caught in the midday sun and remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated

4. DON'T linger if asked to pass through an airport security system and have an internal defibrillator or pacemaker—walk through at a normal pace. It is unlikely your device will be affected but it’s best not to stand close for too long

5. DON'T forget to apply for your free European Health Insurance Card—this allows you to receive medical treatment at a reduced cost or sometimes for free in Europe.

If you have any questions please phone the Irish Heart Foundation Helpline nurse on 1800 25 25 50 or email:

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