Cardiovascular Disease Among International Travellers

Document Type : Review Article


1 Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

2 School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK


Intoduction: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among international travellers. We aim to provide an accurate estimate proportion of international travellers who report or are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease while travelling abroad.
Methods: A narrative synthesis of peer-reviewed literature was conducted on cardiovascular disease among international travellers. Healthcare databases and sources of grey literature were searched using pre-defined criteria between February to June 2019. Two reviewers screened all identified studies against protocol and extracted data using a piloted form.
Results: Eight studies were eligible for final analysis. Four studies evaluated data from GeoSentinel Clinic databases. The number of study participants varied across studies from a minimum of 24 to a maximum of 63,076. Between 0.1% to 14% of international travellers reported or were diagnosed with CVD while travelling abroad. Cardiovascular disease was common in male travellers as compared with female travellers. There was a lack of information on pre-existing morbidity, smoking status, obesity in all included studies.
Conclusion: This review provides first-time estimate of the proportion of international travellers with CVD while travelling overseas. Hence, preventive measure to minimize CVD risk such as sufficient exercises during long-distance flights, progressive acclimatization to altitude, wearing of a face-mask in polluted areas, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and nutrition during travelling should be considered. Cardiovascular disease should be an important part of pre-travel health advice.