Review Article

Air Travel and Supplemental Oxygen Therapy in Patients with Cardiopulmonary Diseases

GC Khilnani, N Bhatta

Department of Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi - 110 029.

Received : 29.11.2000; Revised : 28.7.2001; Accepted : 2.8.2001

Abstract

Air travel has become more popular in modern society and increasing number of patients with cardiopulmonary diseases are traveling by air. Although it represents a safe form of transportation, it leads to significant stress to an individual and its certain inherent risks may cause or promote hypoxia in patients with cardiopulmonary diseases. Clinicians will have to deal with situations where they will be asked to assess the fitness to travel and need for supplemental oxygen during flight. Once in a while the clinician may be required to help a co-passenger in distress during air travel. Predicting requirement of supplemental oxygen during commercial air flight requires knowledge of physiology of commercial air flight and available prediction equations. With modern pressurized aircrafts most of the patients with cardiopulmonary diseases would be able travel by air safely. (J Assoc Physicians India 2002;50:811-815)