Traveling after surgery?

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PhillyJohn Supporter
Supporting Member
Aug 7, 2023
Philadelphia, PA
I was originally scheduled for replacement of a bicuspid aortic valve in March 2024, but moved the surgery up to Nov ‘23 (next month). I’ve got a previously-scheduled trip at the end of Feb ‘24.

Obviously I’ll speak with my surgeon and doctors, but I’m curious if any of you have experience traveling approximately 10 weeks post-surgery, or if I should go ahead and cancel the trip.
I would talk with your cardio and/or surgeon. Depends, I guess, on what kind of trip. I moved my family from one city to another city about 3 months post surgery and went thru the physical and mental stress of such a move without problems. If you go on the trip.....DON'T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR WARFARIN WITH YOU!!
The word from the surgery was: given my age and overall health, it's likely that I'll by physically ok for the trip. Meaning the flight, etc. However, whether it's actually a good idea to go or not will depend on whether my INR has stabilized to a point where we feel confident that something weird won't happen while I'm out of the country.

In other words, play it by ear a little but not a hard "no".
I had to travel about 4 hours by plane to attend my fathers funeral around 8 days after my first surgery. No issues, but I did use the wheelchair service. Both my surgeon and cardiologist signed off on the trip. My cardiologist was the only one to mention to me to have a medical facility nearby identified in case I had arrhythmia. I traveled 5 hours by plane 25 weeks after my last surgery. No problems what so ever.

My guess is you will be in great shape to travel. And by the way, good luck with the added time before surgery now. I know that can be frustrating but the date will be here and over before you know it.
Business or pleasure? Taking one or more children that need close supervision? Beware having to stand for too long in security queues etc - as @Survived03 said: book the wheelchair service. Within US or another part of the world with different cuisine? Away for long? Got your own INR meter to check for changes with a different diet? Going to a place with good hospitals? I took a 4 hour flight about 14 weeks after surgery and 25 days in hospital, and spent 2 weeks somewhere warm and sunny with no problems.
We did a family Disney World Trip at the end of March after mid-October surgery. Drove over 20 hours there and back with four kids. Pushed a stroller all over the parks. Took Disney busses from the resort to the parks loading and unloading the double jogging stroller. It’s doable.

I was a 19 year veteran taking warfarin at that point. So that wasn’t a big concern for me. Brought meds. Took meds. Easy.
I had my surgery done in november and flew back home (dominican republic) on december, if youre worried about the flight you will be fine, just try to stand every hour and walk a bit and also wear some compression socks, that is what the doctor said. Try to get a home self testing kit for INR it will defently help you staying more calm and better manage youre inr to make sure youre in range while travelling.
Agree with others that it may depend on your specific circumstances. That said, I’m currently 5 weeks post AVR (and aortic aneurysm repair) and I was able to travel out of town at week 4 for Thanksgiving to visit family. My wife drove and I was in the backseat (doing what backseat drivers do). I’m “only” 49 and recovering quite well (walking 3-4 miles a day, back on the peloton, etc), so that may have helped. And, an important consideration - I had a tissue valve replacement so I’m not having to worry with INR testing. I do have a host of medicines they have me on, but that was easy enough to bring along. I’d say the only change to my at-home routine was not being as dedicated to walking/exercising, daily weighing and BP monitoring. But you can also chalk that up to being on Thanksgiving holiday….and it was just a few days.
I went on a hiking/camping trip about 11 weeks after my surgery and it was fine, though I didn't carry a backpack as I didn't trust putting all that weight on my sternum. So, like others are saying, there's a good chance you'll be able to.

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