Many stroke survivors worry about if and when they can fly after a stroke. Medical research shows a person can fly after a stroke, but they should consider the type of stroke they had, how long it’s been since the stroke and whether they want medical travel assistance during the flight.

If you plan to travel after having a stroke, it’s comforting to know that research has found having a history of a stroke does not put a person in danger during an airline flight. Having a past stroke does not mean a person should not fly.

But if a stroke has been more recent or a person simply has concerns about flying, they should consider several factors before booking their trip.

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Factors For Flying After a Stroke

Strokes vary in type and severity. Stroke victims should consider their own unique circumstances. Experts do not have hard and fast rules that apply to everyone who has had a stroke. But the following factors can help you decide about flying.

Type of Stroke

The advice on when to fly could depend on the stroke. A full stroke involves the sudden loss of blood flow to the brain. However, many people experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is known as a “mini-stroke” that resolves without permanent brain damage. 

A TIA is like a stroke and considered a warning sign of stroke risk. Also, some medical disorders that lead to a TIA could pose a “very small risk” on flights, according to research compiled by Very Well Health. Those conditions include patent foramen ovale, paradoxical embolism or hypercoagulability. It’s important to know if you have those conditions.

Timing of Stroke

Experts may vary on when they recommend you can fly. The Stroke Association recommends that it is “probably best to avoid flying for the first two weeks. This is the time when your problems are likely to be most severe and other conditions related to your stroke may come up.”

In the most severe stroke cases, patients may want to wait as long as three months. However, with a TIA, many people are safe to fly in 10 days. 

Before booking a flight, people should consult with their doctor.

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Medical Assistance For A Flight

Some people who have had a stroke may prefer to hire medical professionals to fly with them. Doing so provides them a high degree of security in making the flight and ensures they get proper medical care if needed. Such help is found with non-emergency transport (NEMT) companies like Flying Angels.

Flying Angels provides a number of services that can support stroke victims when they fly. A Flight Coordinator books your flight, sets up all the arrangements with both airports and airlines, gets you through security and provides a flight nurse to help you throughout your journey. The company hires only nurses with a great deal of experience working in emergency rooms and who have training in providing medical care at high altitudes.

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Stroke survivors may face challenges, but they still can live a full life. As with any serious condition, those who have had a stroke need to practice patience and planning. Travel by flight is certainly doable if they have the right amount of support. Consulting with a doctor and a medical transport service can give people the answers they seek about flying after a stroke. They also can provide the comfort, care and support they need to make the journey.

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