Recent travel in the times of Coronavirus

Hi! Has anyone with a pacemaker traveled by air in recent days? If so, what precautions did you take? Are we in the "at risk" category for the coronavirus?




Depends on why you needed a PM in the first place

by crustyg - 2020-03-15 05:57:53

A recent sub-group analysis from the Chinese about Covid-19 patients showed a very clear increased case fatality rate (CFR) in elderly and previously unwell patients.  'Heart disease' (whatever that is but almost certainly mostly ischaemic heart disease - furred up coronary arteries) is a big risk factor (10.5% CFR, chronic respiratory disease 6.3%, high BP 6%, diabetes 7.3%, > 80yrs 14.8%).  These numbers are from a relatively small series and there *may* be other factors in play here, but the picture is clear: healthy young adults have a CFR of well under 1%, ill and old people will not do well.  That's why Italy has such terrible figures, lots of old folk (supposedly the most elderly population in the EU).

Flying with a PM is no different now to what it was 3 months ago - if you can find a flight.

But if you have a damaged heart or heart disease that's led to you needing a PM then you are at higher risk of death *IF* you contract the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

How you avoid infection is up to you: hand-washing, avoiding crowded places and ill people - except that it's now certain that some folk are infected and transmitting the disease *without* having a raised temperature.  And, no, I'm not feeling smug, but worrying myself about it won't help.

Air travel

by Selwyn - 2020-03-15 07:45:14

I came back from Tanzania to the UK 10 days ago.  I have posted under 'Coronavirus' about the risk in general ( please see the Forum ).

Specifically, no obvious measures are being taken in major hub airports. There is increased risk from close proximity to people and hand contact with surfaces.

In Dubai airport the only thing I saw was someone cleaning the metro ( that which takes you between terminals)  surfaces. Going into Tanzania we had our temperatures taken ( infrared brow reader) and had to use hand gel.  There was also travel tracing. An extra long queue!!

The airlines seem to be continuing as usual. Business is business.

I would try to avoid airports and airtravel if at all possible. Afterall, this is the way the virus has spread around the world in 10 weeks. Air travel is high risk as you are in close proximity to a possible carrier or ill person ( not everyone is honest, some are desperate to get to good medical facilities).

Having a pacemaker per se is not a risk factor for dying from this virus.  

Recent Air Travel

by IAN MC - 2020-03-15 08:09:55

I flew from Spain to  the UK 7 days ago and as Selwyn found, the airline was carrying on as normal with no obvious anti-virus measures being evident.

I treated everything I touched as being potentially contaminated ...  the trays on the belt at security check-in,  the luggage , all door handles, lift buttons, seat armrests on the aircraft etc.   I've never had such  clean frequently washed hands !

One moment which made me smile was watching  a fellow passenger  ( who for some reason was wearing a face mask )  trying for several minutes to open the aircaft toilet door with his elbow !

The joys of travel


WuFlu and pacemaker

by AgentX86 - 2020-03-16 00:07:48

Haing a pacemaker doesn't put us at more risk because of the WuFlu but the underlying condition certainly can.  If the problem is just electrical, there is no increased risk.  However, if the reason for the pacemaker is cardiomyopathy, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, or anything to do with the lungs, really, then that condition would certainly be cause for worry.  Everyone over the age of 50 is at higher risk but generally because we have a higher incidence of the above and, at some point, a compromised immune system (but not PM related).

Oh, and smoking is a definite problem with this disease.  It's thought by some that this is the reason the death toll is so high in China, S. Korea, and Japan.  A much higher percentage of their population smokes than here in the US (perhaps the nannys saved more lives now, too). Of course, anyone who still smokes and has heart disease needs a checkup from the neck up (my FIL died of this stupidity, after two CABG surgeries).

This is a respiratory infection and is deadly mostly to those with preexisting lung damage and those with compromised immunity.

Forgot to note, as far as what I'm doing to prevent getting this, my employer sent all of use who could work from home, home with our computers for two weeks.  Those who can't work from home, at least have more personal space. I may have to go in a few days because of what I need to do.  We'll see.

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