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Tonya E. Recipient

Flying

Hi I was wondering has there been anyone who has traveled/flown since they have had thier l.v.a.d? And if so how did you do it with your equipment ( wall power,battery backups, dressing kits,etc )did you put that in your carry on or stow it underneath.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

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Mitchell W.

Hello Tonya,

I had flown several times during my time with my LVAD. To say it is a process is an understatement. Firstly the equipment. I would load all of the LVAD gear into roughly a medium sized suitcase. Home power, battery charger, ect... and that suitcase always flys with you in the cabin. Most airlines will recognize that bag as a medical device bag and it shouldn't count against your bag count.

Then there is the security and screening process, ooof. You will want to let the screening agents know as soon as you get in line that you are a special passenger and will need assistance. We DO NOT go thru any of the scanners, so get used to pat downs. And your medical suitcase will have to be manually searched. (There eyes get pretty big when they see all of the stuff in the x-ray, Lol) I had great experiences and a few not so great. Needless to say, TSA really isn't sure  what to do with LVAD people, but they are trying.

Mitch

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In reply to by Mitchell W.

Paul R.

I have flown seven times since my LVAD was fitted 4 years ago. Two of the flights were long haul 12 hours. I felt fine after a long haul and feel that an lvad makes me feel less jetlagged  .

Make sure you travel with spare hardware  and plenty of meds incase you are delayed for a long while

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Mike A.

I have also flown a number of times since my LVAD was inserted 5 years ago. I’ve been on several cruises with my LVAD and even to Disney World. Do not check your suitcase of your equipment. Where I’ve traveled, I’ve always asked for a wheelchair, and are whisked through checking in. Yes, you will need to be patted down. Make sure that you are giving yourself extra time for check in. Better than being rushed.

 

Mike

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In reply to by Mike A.

Bryan S.

Mike A.  

We love to cruise, Alaska, transocean, mexico, and now we have signed on for a Panama Canal trip in February 2022.

You said that you have cruised since your lvad inplant.  Where did you go?  Any issues?  Electric outlets?.  Leaving the ship by tender??  

Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated!!

  Use my personal email if possible.  I dfon't always look this lvad message board.  

Contact me---Bryan Shivers   theroost2001@hotmail.com

thanks!!!

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In reply to by Bryan S.

Jennifer L.

My husband and I would also love this information. We love to travel and once he is doing home dialysis (it's been a rough 2 years but you all get that) we plan to start traveling again, cruises especially if truly possible!! That makes me so happy to hear!  jenoelle2011@yahoo.com :) THANK YOU!!!  Jenn and Tom 

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Deborah C.

My husband and I traveled from FL to D.C. Before leaving we had our Vad coordinator give us the information as to where the Vad hospitals were located during our travels so we would know where he had to go if an emergency arose. We actually drove, did not fly. Made arrangements with the hotel for an handicapped room. All went very well.

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Lisa J.

Hello Tonya,

For the first time I would recommend to email TSA Cares.  You can let them know when you are coming through TSA and will need a security assistance.  It can help for the first time.  I flew out of Columbus and they were aware of the time and my situation thus, were ready for me.   Like the others I carry all my equipment with me.

And Mitch is right....ooof to the special pat down.   Watch lotions you put on your hands.  Twice I have gotten alarms after they wipe my hands to detect residue.  This last time not a big deal but the first time I was taken to a private screening area.  It was a bit ridiculous and I am TSA pre-approved.  

Happy travels,

Lisa

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Penny S.

My husband has a HM3 4 years out.  We have traveled via air line each year since 2017.  He has been TSA pre approved.  We travel with S.West and all medical equipment is packed in a carryon with no extra cost.  We always keep it and all medications with us as well as the entire report of his surgery.  We also find where the nearest LVAD hospital is located near our destination.  We have been from the Grand Canyon to Rapid City SD, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons Masa Verde as well as driving to FL several times.  If you feel good pack your bags and go.  No time like the present.  All airlines exempt all necessary carryon medical equipment in the overhead.  You may be questioned and do not go through the regular TSA scan.  You will need to be wanded and some TSA workers are not familiar with the LVAD equipment.  Be sure to give yourself lots of time before you have to be at the gate.

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David R.

Hi, my name is Dave, age 69, a Veteran, and will be getting an LVAD within next month (May 2021). Doing as much research as I can on this device. My main concern is, what to do if I have a citywide power failure as I sleep? Can I get a battery operated Generator to plug into ( I live in an Apt., a gas generator is not an option)? Will I get a warning alarm and be able to put in my Battery Packs in time? Plugging into a wall outlet has me concerned as we do get widespread Power Outages once in a while. Any info would help, thanks :)

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In reply to by David R.

Deborah C.

We ran into this issue here in FL with a hurricane. I had a neighbor who had a generator that recharged the batteries for us for a day until our power came back on. Your doctor should be notifying the electric company so they can get power turned back on in your area before others. They should also notify the fire department there is a VAD user in the house so they are prepared for an emergency. Our VAD coordinators handled all these things for us. Duke electric also put a large sticker outside by our meter telling serve people they could not disconnect the power without notifying us inside. Duke also sent us alerts to be aware of pending weather that might affect our power. When our house alarm went off accidently the paramedics were her in about 2 minutes and were aware we had a VAD patient in the house and were totally prepared. Make arrangements with someone that will be able to charge your batteries during an outage. Check with your church and see if they can offer assistance.

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Bernie R.

Hi Penny,  My wife and I went to Las Vegas last year, after I got my Lvad.  We bought a small hard side bag and were able to fit the charger, power supply and batteries into it.  Make sure it is just big enough, so it fits in the overhead.  I also carried  backpack, and my Lvad bag.

when approaching security, I told them my situation and showed them my vest.  I don’t believe they were familiar with it but understood it to be serious, so they screened me and it was no hassle either flight.  Good luck and have fun!

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Tonya E.

Thank you all for the information.  I did my first short mini trip. I was rather nervous.  More so I went into my head of what if.....I did take someone's advice and got an escort/wheelchair.  And it was much easier. So once again  thank yall for the input....now I can start doing what I love the most ....travel!!!!!

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Larry C.

I am planning a trip to Colorado and want to know if LVAD patients have experienced any problems with high altitudes.

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In reply to by Larry C.

Bryan S.

I have had my lvad since September 2019.  I moved back to my home in New Mexico in March of 2020.  Since that time I have lived in my home at 5500 ft above sea level.  No problems at all! In addition I have been upto 9000 ft on an overnight trip and did not suffer any issues.  You should have a great time in Colorado!