Air travel safe after chest surgery, surgeon says

May 23, 2014
Air travel safe after chest surgery, surgeon says
Whether flying or driving home, study finds similar complication rates.

(HealthDay)—If you're returning home after having chest surgery at an out-of-town hospital, flying is as safe as driving, an expert says.

It's widely believed that ground travel is safer than air travel after chest surgery, but a study by Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon Dr. Stephen Cassivi found that isn't true. He also concluded there is no reason to wait for weeks after chest surgery to fly home.

"In general, travel after surgery can be done if it's well-organized and thought out ahead of time," he said in a Mayo news release.

Cassivi found that chest surgery patients heading home by air or by car had a similar low risk for complications such as pneumonia, blood clots and collapsed lung.

"And that speaks to a very important question that's often managed by dogma or urban myth, hospital myth. We found that although it's not a zero risk, the risk is low, and the risk is the same between ground and ," Cassivi noted.

The old rules of staying put after your surgery for two to four weeks before flying home may not apply, he added. "And I think it opens the door for patients and their surgeons to look seriously at their individual situations and govern travel decisions by how well they're doing," he said.

Cassivi presented the study in Toronto in April at the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

He offered the following tips for traveling home after surgery:

  • Don't alone.
  • To reduce the risk of , walk every hour during your trip and drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you have problems getting enough oxygen, consider traveling with a portable oxygen tank.

The data and conclusions of research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Explore further: Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Study IDs surgical patients at risk

More information: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about surgery.

Related Stories

Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Study IDs surgical patients at risk

April 22, 2014
Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a leading cause of respiratory failure after surgery. Patients who develop the lung disorder postoperatively are at higher risk of dying in the hospital, and those who survive the syndrome ...

Study exposes risk of nutritional deficiencies in obese teens

May 4, 2014
A new study exposes the risk of nutritional deficiencies in severely obese teens – both those who had weight loss surgery and those who did not.

New tool helps doctors better predict, prevent deadly respiratory failure

April 22, 2014
A new prediction tool can help doctors better identify patients who are at highest risk for respiratory failure after surgery and therefore prevent the often deadly condition, suggest data from a large multi-center study ...

Bracing cuts scoliosis surgery only with high compliance

May 1, 2014
(HealthDay)—Bracing for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis only decreases the risk of progression to surgery when patients are highly compliant with wearing the brace, according to a study published in the April 16 issue of ...

Anaesthetic technique important to prevent damage to brain

March 31, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a commonly used anaesthetic technique to reduce the blood pressure of patients undergoing surgery could increase the risk of starving the brain ...

Recommended for you

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

New device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

July 7, 2017
Like many surgeons, Dr. Jason Spector is often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including ...

Success with first 20 patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreatic transplant surgery

June 29, 2017
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that their first series of a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic pancreas disease, known as severe pancreatitis, resulted in shorter hospital stays, less need for opioids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.