Document Type: Review Article
School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, Galway, Ireland
School of Medicine, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among international travellers. Practitioner knowledge of the effects of CVD on international travel is imperative in order to promote a healthy travel experience. This review aimed to explore the available literature on this topic. The PubMed database was accessed to source relevant literature using combinations of relevant keywords as search terms. Articles were restricted to those published in the English language through March 2019. Of 1726 article records retrieved, 73 relevant papers were examined carefully. The results of this narrative review are related to multiple aspects of CVD and travel. The pre-travel consultation should address issues regarding vaccinations, travel insurance, anticoagulation, and medical devices. Additional vaccines to be discussed include influenza, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B. Patients with CVD should be advised of the need to carry a copy of their ECG, prescription(s), and pacemaker manufacturer’s card. Knowledge of the location overseas of automated external defibrillators and awareness of health risks associated with strenuous adventure activities are important for CVD travellers. Medical tourism for patients with CVD is briefly considered. Space tourism is an emerging category of extreme international travel that requires specialized pre-travel preparation. This narrative review article highlights the gaps in the travel medicine literature in relation to CVD. A strong evidence base for most recommendations is lacking. Future scholarly efforts are warranted to facilitate more robust travel recommendations for CVD patients. No qualitative studies to date have described the experiences of international travellers with CVD.