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High Altitude And Hcm

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  • High Altitude And Hcm

    DO ANY OF YOU WITH HCM LIVE IN HIGH ALTITUDE OR VISIT AREAS IN HIGH ALTITUDE? MY HUSBAND AND I WERE INVITED BY FRIENDS TO VISIT THEM IN PARK CITY, UTAH WHICH IS ABOUT 6,000 FT AND I WAS WONDERING IF THIS WOULD BE A PROBLEM. THANKS, JOYCE

  • #2
    Re: High Altitude And Hcm

    I have been to Montana and in the mountians I was great up to 7800 feet - at that point I got rather dizzy. I have not heard anyone mention any real "problems" - he may have a hard time walking long distances but other than that it should be OK.

    HAVE FUN!
    Lisa
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: High Altitude And Hcm

      Hi Joyce,

      I currently am living in Montana, and with the exception of a short work engagement in PA recently, have lived out here for about twelve years. I've not experienced any problems with altitude over 10,000 feet and in fact, find it much easier to move around out here than when i was in PA. I think it's a humidity thing. My major concern living here with HCM is that it is very dry and in the summers you can lose hydration very fast without even feeling it. Drink lots of water!

      Jim
      "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: High Altitude And Hcm

        I am a Jersey girl who is not use to high elevations (I think I live at about 1000 feet or so), therefore I felt the elevation a bit more because I was not use to it.
        I remember driving in Yellowstone, I started to really have to take deep breaths and was getting dizzy...then we came upon a sign - that said Elevation 8600 (or close to that - it was the highest point in the park) - I said lets get off this mountian...soon. We did and when we hit about 7000 my breathing was better???
        Jim - You are a Montana boy - your body must be most use to it!
        Hey how is the weather out there?
        Be well,
        Lisa
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: High Altitude And Hcm

          I normally live in Chicago, elevation 624 msl and at least once per year we visit my in-laws who live in Colorado at about 8,500 feet. I never experienced trouble breathing normally, but was very careful about physical exertion. I have not yet been back post surgery. We do however, have a vacation planned to yellowstone at the end of July. I will let you know how it goes.

          Bob
          Cleveland Myectomy Crew
          Member since November 2002

          \"Chance favors the prepared mind!\"

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: High Altitude And Hcm

            Hi all~! I saw this thread and had to share what happened on my last trip. I took two flights on the same day, and during the second one I got massively dizzy and I started blacking out. I couldn't stand, and I had trouble seeing. The flight attendant tried to help me to an empty seat where I could lie down, and the pilot almost made an emergency landing. I begged them not to land the plane, and I made it OK. My friend was on the plane with me and told them I have a heart condition, and they started shouting for any doctors on the plane! HAHA!
            I never knew that flying could cause such a reaction, since I've flown alot over the years, and I've had HCM my whole life. I think it might have been the number of flights that day or something, but I was definitely affected by altitude!

            Has anyone else had anything like this happen on flights??

            -Shelley
            \"Well behaved women rarely make history...\"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: High Altitude And Hcm

              Hi Shelley. When my husband was diagnosed they sent him to Hawaii for a second opinion. (He was in the Air Force and stationed in Japan at the time.) The flight to get to Hawaii was a roundabout of 4 flights through Japan, then overnight, then the big flight to Hawaii. He didn't have any problems with it that day, but who knows if he'd have a problem with it now. He hasn't flown in almost 2 years now.

              Reenie
              Reenie

              ****************
              Husband has HCM.
              3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                hi shelley. yes just last january i was experincing swelling of my feet omg I HAVE NEVER SWELLED, but we had many delyas in our plane for some reason, we were in dominican and its hot here, but no humididty, anyways i was on theplane for 2 hours awaitng for take off obviouly something was wrong , kept putting us off, by the time we were going to leave my feet were so swelled and im a petete person, the airline stwert did the same thing as what happened to you, pilot wanted to do an emergancy landing in washington , i said no way and if i get any more problems i will let them know and then we can stop, i th ink the salt and and the trapped in plane with no movement did this to me. but my doc did mention is there is a condition called altitude sickenss

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                  I have been in the mountains frequently above 10,000 feet. While there, I've had no problems or symptoms (even when skiing or doing other very aerobic activities. I was born in Boston and currently live in SD, California.. My wife was born and raised in Denver, she gets dizzy when at high altitudes! (and she has a "normal" heart"). Don't know if there is a correlation between probelms with Altitude and HCM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                    I suspect there still is a correlation. My husband, who has no known heart problems gets faint and vomits and all kinds of good stuff at high altitude. I had no problem with high altitudes, even though I was severely anemic, until about five years ago, after not being at high altitudes for about 6 years. I found that I was panting severely just walking slowly downhill. I was there for a meeting and was late for nearly every one. My husband concluded that I was still anemic, but I was not. So, what made the difference? I can't say for sure, but, although I had had some symptoms of HCM for many years, it was about ten years ago that things got bad enough that I was first sent to a cardiologist. So, I think there is at least a correlation between altitude problems and the severity of HCM symptoms.
                    Rhoda

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                    • #11
                      Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                      I have flown and I had no problems. Except there wasn't enough peanuts in the bag

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                        I suspect that a correlation exists between anxiety and flying and that anxiety can often times be difficult to differentiate from heart/breathing/etc.. problems (since when we are anxious, those symptoms manifest themselves).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                          Since even healthy, normal-hearted people can experience symptoms of altitude sickness due to decreased oxygen levels, one would have to assume that for those HCM'ers who normally experience shortness of breath anyway, symptoms would be exacerbated.

                          In Denver, for instance, which is at an elevation of approximately 5,280 feet, there is 17% less oxygen in the air than at sea level. At 8000 feet the amount of available oxygen is 25% less than at sea level. About 25% of unacclimated people develop symptoms of altitude sickness at only 6000 feet. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea. It takes 1 to 2 days for the average person to fully acclimatize to altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. More time is required for altitudes above that.

                          Regarding air travel... by law, the cabin pressure of a commercial airline cannot be less, at maximum cruise altitude, than the equivalent of outside air pressure at 8,000 feet. That's still pretty thin air. Therefore, symptoms of altitude sickness can, and do occur during air travel. An air traveler also has no chance to acclimate... the ascent from sea level to 8000 feet (effectively) can take place in a matter of minutes. This could certainly explain why some HCM'ers experience increased symptoms in-flight.

                          Well, that's my take on the discussion anyway

                          Jim
                          "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                            I do believe many airlines do not even approach an in-cabin air pressure equivalent to 8,000 feet, as too many of the passengers are discomforted, and that’s just not good for business.

                            If altitude bothers you, and there are a number of airlines to choose from, call them and ask what they keep their cabin pressure at in flight, then choose the airline that maintains the lowest altitude equivalent.

                            Frankly, I haven’t done that in years – goes back to when I flew every week – but I believe they still have such variations. At least it’s worth checking out.

                            I have a friend that flies between California and New York. She pays $75 over the ticket for three bottles of oxygen on board, whether she uses them or not. The last time she flew she asked if they had three bottles on board, and the stewardess said they had two. My friend said, I paid for three and you WILL have three! They scrambled around and got the third bottle. If she hadn’t been aware and insisted, they would have flown with two. You have rights as a passenger, make sure your needs are met.
                            Burt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: High Altitude And Hcm

                              All good points, Burton.

                              Even if we assume that every commercial airline operates within federal guidelines... cabin pressurization is derived from the jet engines, and higher cabin pressures result in a significant increase in fuel demand. The airlines aren't likely to spend that fuel frivolously. I'm sure they try to achieve the minimum amount of cabin pressure possible to maintain passenger comfort, while at the same time conserving fuel and reducing operating cost.

                              I assume the following information regarding air travel would also apply to ground travel at altitudes above 8000 feet:

                              "Hypobaric hypoxia (hypoxia due to a lowered oxygen pressure at altitude) is a major concern for airline travelers with cardiovascular disease. At a cabin altitude of 8000 ft, the inspired partial pressure of oxygen is 108 mm Hg (versus 149 mm Hg at sea level). This correlates with a PaO2 (arterial O2 pressure) of 50-60 mm Hg in people with normal baseline PaO2. If these last data are plotted on the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve, we obtain a blood oxygen saturation of 90%. Although most healthy travelers can normally compensate for this amount of hypoxemia, this may not be true for coronary, pulmonary, cerebrovascular, and anemic patients. Because these patients may already have a reduced PaO2 on the ground, further reduction in aircraft cabin pressure will bring them to the steep part of the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve with a resultant very low saturation, which could cause distress and/or exacerbation of their illness.

                              Cardiac patients compensate to some extent for inflight hypoxia by increasing minute ventilation, mainly by increasing tidal volume. The primary cardiac response to hypoxia is mild tachycardia, which results in increased myocardial oxygen demand. In patients with limited cardiac reserve, the decreased oxygen supply at altitude and resultant tachycardia may result in symptoms and cardiac decompensation. Consequently, in some cases, medical oxygen may be required.

                              The managing physician must be mindful that the excitement and stress of air travel can further precipitate symptoms in individuals with limited reserve.

                              Severe decompensated congestive heart failure (CHF) is a contraindication to air travel. However, in stable CHF, inflight medical oxygen is advisable for patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III-IV CHF or baseline PaO2 less than 70 mm Hg."

                              Medical Guidelines for Airline Travel, 2nd Edition
                              Aerospace Medical Association
                              Medical Guidelines Task Force
                              Alexandria, VA
                              "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

                              Comment

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