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



Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among international travellers. This study aims to estimate the proportion of travellers diagnosed with CVD during international travel.
Methods: A narrative synthesis of peer-reviewed literature was conducted on CVD among international travellers. Healthcare databases and sources of grey literature were searched using pre-defined criteria between February and June 2019. Two reviewers screened all the 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% and 14% of international travellers were reported or diagnosed with CVD while travelling abroad. CVD 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 a first-time estimate of the proportion of international travellers with CVD while travelling overseas. Hence, preventive measures to minimize CVD risk such as sufficient exercises during long-distance flights, progressive acclimatization to altitude, wearing a face mask in polluted areas, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and nutrition during travelling should be considered. CVD should be an important part of pre-travel health advice.