Can you fly after a TIA or stroke?

Dr Arvind Chandratheva
Dr Arvind Chandratheva
Consultant Neurologist

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Flying is a common difficulty and there’s no specific guidance, aside from it depends on what the cause of the stroke may be and what persistent deficit there might be.  If you’ve had one of these transient events, one would typically advise that you let your insurance company know first of all. Secondly ensure that you have been seen by someone and you have started on the right treatment.  Thirdly I would generally say wait two weeks before flying which is typically what the Stroke Association would say on their website. If it has been a transient event, you have seen someone, you have had the discussion and you have been started on the right treatment, then you remain well hydrated, move around and it is not a long flight, then I would have thought it would be absolutely fine as long as you’ve had that discussion with your insurance company. 

I’ve had discussions with patients and it has been fine for them to fly within that time. There are certain patients that might have an increased risk. For example, there is an increasingly known about condition known as PFO, patent foramen ovale, which is a hole in the heart. It is incredibly common, as 25% of the patients population have it. In certain patients it can be associated with a clot going from the veins, the deep vein thrombosis or the vein side of your circulation, to the arteries where the stroke occurs.  With those patients, there might be a slight increase in risk in flying early. It should be fine the majority of the time, as long as you have been seen by someone, you have started on appropriate treatment, you have told your insurance company, you are well hydrated and you are moving around, it should be fine. The guidelines would typically say wait around two weeks.

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