On holiday, we like to treat ourselves to plenty of rest and new experiences and impressions. But our hearts often goes under more stress on holiday than in normal everyday life. Cardiologists warn that there is often an increased risk of heart attack on holiday. We will now give the reasons for this and explain why, after a heart attack abroad, rapid medical repatriation to the UK is advisable for an emergency.
Three reasons for an increased risk of heart attack on holiday
Depending on how you choose to structure your time on holiday, there may be several reasons for an increased risk of heart attack.
1. Differences in temperature
Many holidaymakers are consciously choosing to go spend their holidays in particularly hot and sunny countries. Whether it's Majorca, the Dominican Republic or Qatar, high summer temperatures, endless beaches and the clear cool sea beckon. But the large differences in temperature compared to those at home, the contrast between the midday heat and air-conditioned hotel rooms and the sudden cooling down that the body experiences when jumping into the sea or the hotel pool, can present substantial challenges for the circulation. Particularly for a heart that may already be weak, these stresses can simply become too much.
2. Leisure activities
Many people literally plunge themselves into countless activities during their holidays. Extensive, almost hectic, sightseeing so as not to miss anything that's worth seeing, extended walks and climbing tours or an all-encompassing entertainment programme: already the physical stresses on holiday are greater than in everyday life, and most people forget to take enough breaks to rehydrate and have a rest. These extra strains, often combined with hot temperatures at your holiday destination, can push the heart to its limits – and often even beyond them.
3. Leisure sickness
Feeling ill through doing nothing? It's actually quite common. People who are constantly operating at full capacity in their work lives put extreme demands on their bodies. The immune system and the circulatory system also do all they can in order to ward off illness during periods of stress. But as soon as the stress subsides, people are particularly vulnerable. Accordingly, you find that you often catch a cold or the flu right at the beginning of a relaxing holiday. But more serious illnesses can also occur – even heart attacks.
Heart attack on holiday? What's the best thing to do?
A heart attack on holiday can affect not just older travellers, but, in fact, anyone. It is all the more important to know what to do in an emergency – it can literally save a life.
When holidaymakers fall ill abroad, communication with the local doctors is often limited by language barriers. If a holidaymaker has a heart attack abroad it is often difficult to provide any comprehensible information about previous illnesses or a list of medicines that he or she regularly uses. This makes getting the appropriate medical care more complicated. In addition, in many foreign hospitals, especially in non-european countries, the medical standards are not as high as in e.g. the UK, the USA, Germany or France. Therefore, after a heart attack on holiday, good cardiological treatment is usually only possible in a German hospital. That is why, in many cases, rapid medical repatriation of the patient makes so much sense.
Medical repatriation by helicopter after a heart attack
A heart attack is a life-threatening condition that requires rapid medical attention. That is why we often deploy an ambulance helicopter in cases of heart attack abroad. A helicopter can usually land close to the hospital or even directly on the roof of the hospital building. This eliminates time-consuming road journeys to the airport. However, the flight range of helicopters is limited, and they can only be used for short-haul flights.
Medical repatriation by air ambulance after a heart attack
For longer distances, an ambulance aircraft is the best option. We use jets for medical repatriations all over the world, allowing us to fly heart attack patients to a special clinic or hospital as quickly as possible. The air ambulance is fitted with the necessary equipment for the transport of heart attack patients and the flight is accompanied by specialised medical staff.
Will my insurance cover the cost of a medical repatriation?
Since a heart attack is often classed as a medically necessary repatriation, you have a good chance of being reimbursed under your international travel insurance (though policies vary widely). Should the insurance company refuse your claim, we can fly you back even without insurance. We will gladly prepare a written quotation for you and can arrange your medical repatriation on the same day if required.
Any further questions?
Would you like to know more about organising a medical repatriation? We have put together lots of useful information for you in our FAQ.
If you have any further questions or if you would like a free, non-binding quotation for a medical repatriation, you can reach our experienced team 24 hours a day: