New expert guidelines allow more patients with pre-existing heart conditions to travel by air


The British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) has published findings that claim flying with a heart condition is not as dangerous as first thought.

The “Fitness to Fly” report, published on the BCS website, shows that there are very few heart conditions that mean that patients can’t fly safely. But it also advises airplane passengers with pre-existing heart conditions to inform their airline and make precautions during their flying preparations.


Whilst airlines do have the right to deny passage on the basis of a pre-existing heart condition, this report gives clear evidence that such denial is unnecessary in the vast majority of cases. This means that thousands of heart patients will be able to travel by air, reassured that expert guidelines have shown that it is safe to do so.


BCS president Keith Fox says that the new guidelines are good news for patients and doctors. “For the first time, doctors have also been provided with clear and straightforward guidelines.”


The comprehensive report was produced by a working group (the BMJ Group) led by cardiologist Dr David Smith at the request of the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee. It includes a summary table of various specific heart conditions with advice on any necessary guidance or restrictions that should be considered for the passenger. In addition to the BCS website, the report will also be published on the BMJ Heart website as well as the following edition of their Heart journal.