Medical Devices - Defibrillators and pacemakers

What is the most appropriate approach to go through airport security?

  • If you have an implanted cardiac defibrillator or pacemaker it is prudent to carry a pacemaker or medical device ID card that documents the presence, make and model of your defibrillator or pacemaker and the telephone number for the manufacturer.
  • Inform the airport security officer that you have an implanted medical device and give them the pacemaker or medical device ID card.
  • Request a pat - down inspection rather than walking through the arched metal detector. Do not have the hand held security wand used to screen you, since it can interfere with the workings of your medical device.

Will my defibrillator or pacemaker set off the metal detector?

Yes, implanted cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers can trigger the alarm of metal detectors.

Will metal detectors harm my defibrillator or pacemaker?

Hand held security wands can interfere with implanted cardiac defibrillators. Travelers should carry a letter from your physician and request a physical pat down. Walk through metal detectors will not interfere with your device but will set off an alarm.

What else should I consider?

You should also carry a copy of your EKG with you, so physicians who are not familiar with you can compare EKG’s if an emergency situation developed while traveling. You should also consider having your cardiologist’s contact information (telephone/fax/email) with you for others to communicate with them.

For any questions regarding your defibrillator, pacemaker or stent please consult your cardiologist or the company that manufactured it.

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Medical Devices - Artificial Joints and other Orthopedic Issues

Will artificial joints set off the walk through metal detector?

Yes, artificial joints will set off the alarm in walk through metal detectors. As a general experience total hip joints set off alarms 100% of the time, total knee joints 90% of the time, plates and screw 25 % of the time, spinal implants 14 % of the time.

Artificial shoulders, wrists, screws, wires and rods by themselves may not set off alarms depending on how sensitive the machines are.

Does having a Medical Device Patient Travel Card, Doctor’s letter or X-ray make it easier to go through airport screening?

NO it does not, these documents can obviously be forged and cannot be relied upon by airport security officers as a substitute for individual screening.

What is the most appropriate approach to go through airport security screening?

  • You can inform the security officer that you have an artificial joint, prosthetic device or plates & screws;  they may tell you to walk through anyway or screen you privately with a hand wand.
  • If you walk through the metal detector and  the alarm goes off, let the officer know that you have an artificial joint, prosthetic device or plates & screws etc.
  • You will be taken to a private area and screened with a hand wand to confirm the presence of your artificial joint, prosthesis or other device. At this point a Medical Device Patient Travel Card may help to confirm the location of your device and correlate to where the hand wand should alarm.

What about Prosthesis, Braces and Casts?

Security officers will need to see, touch and perhaps do explosive trace sampling on your artificial limb, brace or cast. These do not need to be removed for screening.

What about canes, crutches and walkers?

Canes, crutches and walkers must undergo x-ray screening. If they do not fit the machine, a manual inspection and explosive trace sampling may be conducted.

What about TENS units, Bone growth stimulators, Orthopedic shoes etc?

Inform the security officer of your device and its location. You should request a private screening with pat down and visual inspection as the calibration of devices will be interfered with by x-ray screening equipment.

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Medical Devices - Cardiac stents and metal heart valves

Will a stent in my heart set off metal detectors?

A single metal stent will not set off alarms, however if you have multiple stents the metal detector could possibly be set off. At approximately 3-4 weeks after stents have been placed, tissue builds up around them and it should no longer set off metal detector alarms.

If alarms go off and you feel it is due to your stents, show security officers your medical device ID card and request a physical pat – down screen.

Will my artificial metal heart valve or ring set off metal detectors?

As a general rule it should not, since the amount of metal in a valve or valve ring is small. However if the sensitivity of the machines are set extremely high it is a possibility.

If alarms go off and you feel it is due to your valve or valve ring, show security officers your medical device ID card and request a physical pat – down screen.

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Medical Devices - CPAP

Travelers with Obstructive Sleep Apnea who use CPAP at night can travel by air these days without many hassles with their CPAP machines. This ability to transport and use the devices at their vacation or business destinations ensures their well being and health.

What is the most appropriate approach to go through airport security?

  • Have the CPAP machine in its original bag if possible, with bubble wrap for protection.
  • International plug adaptor kit and electric current converter or surge protector if needed for your device.
  • Bring a copy of your CPAP prescription and statement of need by your physician.
  • Bring a copy of TSA’a statement on CPAP devices, in case the screeners are not familiar with procedures; available at www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm


Should I have the CPAP machine in my carry-on or check it?

Ideally you should have the CPAP machine in your carry-on luggage to assure that it does not get lost or damaged. CPAP machines cost $1000’s while checked luggage is only insured for $200, replacement will be expensive.

Will I be allowed to take the CPAP machine in my carry-on?

Theoretically, you should be able to take the CPAP machine in your carry-on luggage according to the Department of Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) guidelines and most TSA screeners are familiar with these devices. The machines obviously have to go through x-ray screening, explosive and chemical tests prior to being allowed to board.

So what is the catch?

According to reports from CPAP users, your ability to take the machine in your carry-on is not guaranteed and many are forced to check it in because they did not “pass” the x-ray test. TSA guidelines come with an exception; respiratory equipment that the Security officers are not able to clear by inspection will not be allowed on board in your carry-on luggage.

If you are not allowed to take it in your carry-on; be polite, patient, understanding and check it.   Wrap it well in bubble wrap to avoid any damage. Bon voyage!

Can I use the CPAP machine onboard the airplane?

You should be able to use the CPAP machine on board if your seat has a power port to connect the CPAP machine. You can carry a power port to 12 V adapter and connect the CPAP via its own 12 V adapter cable. Alternatively carry an inverter that will attach to the airplane power port and hook up the CPAP with its power cord to the inverter.

Seats in first and business class usually come with a power port, check with seatguru.com to see if your seat comes with a power port.

If you don’t want to mess with cables and power ports, there are battery powered CPAP machines with a battery life of approximately 11 hrs that can be used.

How can I use the CPAP machine overseas?

First of all, carry a copy of your prescription and certificate of need from your physician to clear customs smoothly.

Newer CPAP machines have universal power supplies and adjust for different voltages (120 or 240) automatically without worrying about damaging the unit. Older machines may have a switch that you need to flip or may have to carry a converter or surge protector; check out the specifications of your machine.  

However as electric surges occur in some developing countries surge protection is vital even if a converter is built in. Wall outlets will be varied and so it is prudent to carry a multipack international plug adapter kit.

Don’t forget to carry an extension cord, to assure that you actually get to sleep on the bed and not by the lamp or door.

Medical Devices - Diabetes medications, equipment & supplies

What is the most appropriate approach to go through security screening?

  • Pack your insulin and all diabetes testing supplies in a clear separate pouch or bag.
  • Medications and supplies are safe to go through x-ray testing and you can place them on the x-ray machine.
  • However, if you prefer a visual inspection, inform the security officer that you have diabetes, have your medications & supplies with you and request a visual inspection. They may do this as a courtesy but make the request early before you go through regular screening.
  • If you have an insulin pump, notify the security officer that you have an insulin pump and that it cannot be removed; since it is attached with a needle under the skin. Ask the officer for a physical pat – down and visual inspection of the pump.

What all diabetes medications and supplies are allowed to be carried in your carry on luggage?

  • Insulin and insulin loaded syringes that are clearly marked as such.
  • Unlimited number of unused syringes if accompanied by insulin.
  • Unlimited number of used syringes if they are in sharps disposal containers.
  • Blood glucose meters, lancets, test strips, alcohol swabs & meter testing solutions.
  • Insulin pumps and pump supplies like cleaning agents, batteries, catheter, needles, tubing, infusion kit etc, when accompanied by insulin.
  • Glucagon emergency kit.

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Medications and Supplies

What is the most appropriate approach to go through security screening?

  • Pack all your medications and supplies in a separate pouch or bag from the rest of your belongings to quickly give to security officers.
  • Medications and supplies are safe to go through x-ray testing and are normally screened this way.
  • If you wish to have your medications and supplies inspected visually rather than through x-ray testing, you maybe granted this wish but you need to request it prior to going through screening.
  • If any of the medications or supplies cannot be adequately screened visually, it will have to go through x-ray screening.

What medications and supplies are allowed to be carried in your carry on luggage?

  • As a general statement the Transportation Security Agency states that all medications and supplies are allowed as long they pass screening.
  • These include: Pills and liquids like insulin, inhalers and their refills, atropens, epipens, insulin syringes, pre-loaded syringes, jet injectiors, infusers etc.
  • Medications in pill form need not be labeled, however liquids like insulin need to be clearly identifiable with labels.
  • Medications in pill boxes (daily dosage containers) are allowed.

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Oxygen

Do I need supplemental oxygen when I fly?

If you are currently on oxygen treatment at home, you will need supplemental oxygen during your flight and you will most likely need to increase the flow rate by 1-2 L/min more than your usual requirements. Consult with your physician.

If you are currently not on oxygen, you may still need supplemental oxygen during flight:

  • If your blood oxygen level at rest while breathing room air is less than 70mmHg. Blood oxygen level is measured by obtaining blood from your arm - arterial blood gas test. This is the best test to determine need for supplemental oxygen during flight.
  • If your blood oxygen saturation at rest while breathing room air is less than 92% or if it drops below 85% by walking 150 feet . This is done non-invasively by placing a probe on your fingertip – pulse oximeter test. This is the second best test to determine need for supplemental oxygen during flight.
  • if you are unable to walk 150 feet or climb a flight of 15 steps without becoming severely short of breath.  Please consult your physician to determine need for supplemental oxygen

There are other sophisticated tests including placement in an altitude chamber, breathing mixed nitrogen/oxygen etc to determine need for supplemental oxygen. However, these tests are cumbersome and not readily available everywhere.

Should I consult with my doctor before flying?

Individuals with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, congestive heart failure, angina, sickle cell disease, severe anemia etc. should consult with their physician regarding supplemental oxygen during flight.

If you are unable to walk 150 feet or climb a flight of 15 steps without becoming short of breath you need to consult your physician prior to flying.

When should I tell the airline regarding my need for oxygen?

You should notify the airline regarding your need for in-flight oxygen as far in advance as possible, preferably when you make the booking, but a minimum of 48 hours prior to flying.

Can I carry my own oxygen equipment onto the airplane?

NO airline will not allow you to take your own compressed or liquid oxygen.

The Airline Oxygen Council of America has helped pass legislation now requiring all airlines to allow Department of Transportation (DOT) approved Portable Oxygen Concentrators (POC) on flights in the United States. However not all foreign airlines abide by this legislation; please check with the airline you are flying.

The DOT approved portable oxygen concentrators are as follows – AirSep Freestyle, AirSep Lifestyle, Inogen One, Respironics EverGo, SeQual Eclipse.

What about oxygen at the terminal and during layovers?

You are solely responsible for arranging your oxygen while on the ground in the terminals, during layovers and during transport at arrival and departure. Use your home oxygen company, friends and relatives etc for this. The passenger is also responsible for arranging the removal of oxygen canisters from the gate area upon your departure.

The airline is only responsible for oxygen while you are on the airplane.

You should never forget to make separate arrangements for oxygen at your destination as well; the airline will not do this for you.

Well, who can arrange all this?

Your home oxygen supplier should be able to help you make these arrangements. If you are not currently on oxygen, contact your medical insurance company for a list of contracted home oxygen providers. Your physician should be able to guide you on this as well.

You can also visit www.homeoxygen.org for assistance in these matters.

What is the most appropriate approach to go through security screening?

  • Inform the security officer that you or the person you are escorting is on oxygen therapy.
  •  If it is safe to be disconnected from your oxygen and respiratory equipment, do so and have yourself and the oxygen equipment screened separately.
  • If your doctor has indicated that you cannot be disconnected from your oxygen and respiratory equipment, inform the security officer and ask for an alternative method of screening (physical pat – down, inspection and explosive trace detection etc.)

What equipment is allowed to go through security?

Oxygen canisters, nebulizers, respirators and concentrators are all allowed into the terminals once they have been screened by security officers.  However again, your own oxygen cannisters will not be allowed on the airplane - only POC (portable oxygen concentrators).

For current rules and regulations please visit  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds 

Elderly Traveler

 The elderly are more prone to effects of jet lag, temperature change, motion sickness and dehydration. To minimize these symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest prior to travel.
  • Carry extra layers of clothing to keep warm on the plane and while on the ground during layovers or transfers.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Carry extra snacks for unforeseen delays.

Plan ahead and always allow extra time:

  • To get to the airport, transfer to different terminals, counters and baggage claim areas.
  • Make use of available help by asking for wheelchairs and carts.

Should I avoid travel at this time?

Contraindications to air travel include but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain that is new, occurs at rest or with minimal effort
  • Had a heart attack in the past 6 weeks
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled heart failure – breathless at rest
  • Had a collapsed lung in the past 3 weeks
  • Uncontrolled Asthma/COPD – breathless at rest
  • Active infection of the ear, nose, & throat
  • Surgery within the past 2 weeks
  • Had a stroke in the past 2 weeks
  • Been diving in the past 24 hours

Consult with your physician for your specific situation and any other contra-indications to air travel.

What if I have a chronic medical illness?

If you have chronic medical conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart disease, there is specific advice for each illness, please go to any or all of those sections as needed with this link: traveler with diabetes, traveler with asthma and traveler with heart disease.

Will I need oxygen for flying?

Lists of conditions requiring supplemental oxygen while flying include, but not limited to, are:

  • You are currently on oxygen at home
  • Your blood oxygen level while breathing room air is less than 70 mmHg
  • Your finger probe oxygen saturation is less than 92% while at rest or less than 85% with exertion
  • if you are unable to walk 150 feet or climb a flight of 15 steps without becoming severely short of breath. 

Consult with your physician regarding whether you require oxygen during flight.

What is the risk of blood clots from travel or flying?

Factors that increase the risk of blood clots include but are not limited to:

  • Age > 75,
  • Previous history of blood clots,
  • Cancer,
  • Kidney failure,
  • Immobility,
  • Recent surgery,
  • Genetic susceptibility to clotting,
  • Prolonged air travel (> than 4 hours) etc.

Consult with your physician regarding your specific risk for developing blood clots.

Simple measures to prevent blood clots include but are not limited to:

  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Wear loose fitting clothes
  • Exercise in your seat by bending and straightening your feet and knees 15 times every 15 minutes.
  • Walk around the cabin every 30 minutes if safe and feasible
  • Wear properly fitted graduated compression stockings.
  • Consult your physician to see if you require medications to prevent blood clots.

Please go to our section on economy class syndrome for further details.

What about medical devices/records/drugs/supplies?

If you have implanted medical devices like defibrillators, medication infusion pumps, pace makers or artificial joints carry a letter and your medical device ID card from your physician to ease matters with security clearance.  Please go to our section on traveling with medical devices. 

Carry a copy of your EKG and a legible list of all your medical problems and medications with you in your carry on baggage or wallet/purse.

Carry all your medications, supplies and any blood sugar testing kits etc. with you in your carry on baggage. DO NOT put them in your checked luggage. If you are gone for a prolonged length of time, consider carrying a set of new prescriptions with you in your wallet or purse, in case you loose your luggage, so that you can have them refilled without problems.

How about travel vaccines and antibiotics?

Make sure you have received appropriate travel related and booster vaccines for the country you are traveling to and have necessary antibiotics for the prevention of malaria and treatment of diarrhea.

Be aware of the potential for newly prescribed medications like antibiotics, motion sickness pills etc to interact with your usual daily medications. Check with your physician or pharmacist about the need to adjust doses or alternatives.

If possible take a dose or two of the new medications prior to departure to make sure it will not cause any problems.

Should I wear a medical alert bracelet?

Wear a medical alert bracelet if you have diabetes, asthma, heart problems, seizures or psychiatric problems.

The Pregnant Traveler

If you are pregnant and considering international travel, you should evaluate the availability of quality care during travel and at your destination.

You should also investigate issues of insurance exclusions, medical evacuation costs, etc with your medical insurance carrier and have assurances in writing. This is of special importance if traveling to developing countries.

If your pregnancy is complicated for any reason, whether it be high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia or specific obstetrical issues you need to obtain permission from your OB/GYN physician.

The second trimester of pregnancy (weeks 18-24) is the safest for travel.

Any special precautions to take for air travel?

Avoid air travel:

  • From 32 weeks of gestation onward for multiple pregnancies (twins or more)
  • From 36 weeks of gestation onward for single pregnancy
  • Within 7 days of delivery
  • With complicated pregnancy

Prevent blood clots by frequently exercising the feet and legs, by walking in the cabin of the aircraft, and bending/straightening your feet and knees for 2 minutes every 10 minutes. Properly fitted graduated compression stockings may be appropriate for some. Pregnancy increases the risk of blood clots and preventive measure are crucial. Go to our economy class syndrome section for further details.

Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water or juice. Drink plenty and you will have to exercise the legs by going to the bathroom!!!

Wear seat belts at all times while seated, keep them at the level of your pelvis for a measure of comfort.

Any special advice for vaccinations during pregnancy?

Live bacterial and live viral vaccines are contra-indicated during pregnancy. These are: Bacille-Calamette-Guerin, Live Intra Nasal Influenza, Mumps-measles-rubella, oral typhoid –Ty 21a, Oral polio, Varicella and Yellow Fever.

In general, avoid vaccinations in the first trimester of pregnancy

The following vaccine preparations can be used form the 2nd trimester onward.

  • Immune globulin
  • Hepatitis B
  • Inactivated Influenza
  • Pneumovacc
  • Inactivated Polio
  • Rabies
  • Typhoid Vi

Data on safety in pregnancy is not available for Hepatitis – A and Japanese Encephalitis

Which antibiotics are safer during pregnancy? 

  • Traveler’s diarrhea: Azithromycin (Zithromax) and Cefixime (Suprax) are safe
  • Malaria prophylaxis: Mefloquine (Larium) and Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone) are CDC recommended after the 1st trimester. Chloroquine is safe, but should only be used in areas where Malaria parasite is known to be sensitive to it.

Avoid

  • Doxycycline
  • Primaquine
  • Pyremethamine
  • Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Quinolone class of antibiotics like Ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, Gatifloxacin and antifungal agents like fluconazole, itraconazole.

What do I do about water safety during my pregnancy and travel?

Boiling water for 3 minutes is the most safe and effective method to assure clean water.

Bottled juices, soft drinks and bottled water should be safe, make sure the cap is sealed when you buy it.

Avoid iodine tablets and iodine based water purification tablets due to risk of goiter in the fetus.

Since water filters do not filter viruses and one cannot use iodine to kill viruses, water filters are not of much use.

Brush your teeth with safe water.

Avoid ice.

See our water safety section for more details.

What do I do about food safety during pregnanacy and travel?

Always wash hands with soap and safe water

Strictly avoid all milk and dairy products. In the developing world pasteurization is not reliable. Risk of listeria, brucella etc are too great without this precaution

Avoid raw or undercooked meats, eggs and fish. Risk of Toxoplasmosis, salmonella etc are too great without this precaution.

Avoid salads, pre-cut vegetables and fruits for reasons of contamination.

If you must have a fruit, make sure the skin is undamaged and you peel the skin off yourself.

See our food safety section for more details.

What do I do if I develop traveler’s diarrhea while pregnant?

Dehydration can decrease placental blood flow; therefore one should aggressively drink fluids. Hot tea, 7-up, Ginger ale, Sports drinks or oral rehydration packets mixed in safe water are recommended.

Azithromycin(Zithromax) 500 mg once a day for 3 days or Cefixime(Suprax) 400 mg once a day for 3 days are safe antibiotics to use in pregnancy.

Combinations of Kaolin-Pectin and Imodium are safe if needed for symptom relief.

Avoid Pepto-Bismol or Bismuth salicylate products due to risk of birth defects and bleeding in the fetus.

See our traveler’s diarrhea section for more details.

What about malaria prevention while traveling and pregnant?

Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.
Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn.
Stay in accommodations with screens, fans or air-conditioning.
Use mosquito nets tucked into the mattress.
Use repellant containing DEET; use it directly onto clothing and only sparingly on skin exposed beyond long sleeve clothing.
Medications:

  • Mefloquine(Larium) is CDC recommended after the 1st trimester
  • Atovaquone/Proguanil is also considered safe after the 1st trimester
  • Chloroquine is safe, but ONLY use for areas where malaria parasites are known to be sensitive to it.
  • Avoid Doxycycline, Primaquine, Pyremethamine.

What do I do for motion sickness while pregnant?

  • Meclizine (Antivert) 25 mg three times a day is considered safe
  • Dimenhydrinate(Dramamine) 50 mg four times a day as needed is considered safe

What can I do about nausea while pregnant?

  • Promethazine (Phenergan) 25 mg three times a day as needed is considered safe

What can I take for pain while pregnant?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed is the safest
Avoid Aspirin and Non-steroidal agents like Ibuprofen

Travel with Children

If children are traveling without their parents, the accompanying responsible adult or guardian should carry a notarized letter authorizing their travel, permission for any and all necessary medical treatment for them and evacuation if needed.

If children are traveling with a solo parent, a signed letter by the non-traveling parent, while not absolutely necessary, may speed up health care and services in countries with a legalistic bend.

Children with chronic heart, lung, blood or ear, nose and throat problems should be evaluated by their pediatrician prior to air travel.

Are there any special immunization requirements for children prior to travel? 

Update all recommended age appropriate vaccinations.

Accelerated vaccine administration schedules are available for special travel circumstances if the child is younger than recommended age, check with your pediatrician

Children should have at least 3 doses of tetanus toxoid and pertussis vaccine prior to travel.

Mumps-measles-rubella vaccine or monovalent measles vaccine (if the child is less than 12 months old) should also be given prior to travel.

Check with your pediatrician for specific recommendations for the country you are traveling to. Your child may need vaccines for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, Meningococcus, Rabies, Typhoid, and Yellow fever etc.

What should be done for malaria prevention in children during travel?

Stay in accommodations with screened windows and doors.

Use permethrin impregnated mosquito nets.

Avoid outdoor activities at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Wear long sleeve clothing.

Apply DEET (N, N-diethylmeta-toluamide) repellant on exposed skin and clothing as directed on the label for children.

Check with your pediatrician for specific weight based recommendation for medications like Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, mefloquine etc.

See our malaria prevention section for further details.

How do I treat traveler’s diarrhea in children?

Follow general food safety and water safety recommendations.

Prepare formulas with safe water only.

Use oral rehydration solutions aggressively. If you are unable to find them or don’t have it, just mix 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 liter of bottled, boiled or purified water.

Children should avoid lomotil, Pepto-Bismol or other anti-diarrhea medications, which could potentially cause blockage.

Take appropriate weight based antibiotics as directed by your pediatrician.

Traveler on Dialysis

Dialysispatients no longer need to be hooked to their hometowns. You can withsome advance planning and preparation enjoy vacations, out of townbusiness or pleasure engagements and even go on cruises or wildernessadventures. 

Who should consider travel?

Any hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis patients who are medically stable and on a stable dialysis regimen can travel.

Who should avoid travel?

Youshould avoid travel if you are new to dialysis, your regimen andfrequency are still being determined or your medical condition isunstable.

How should a hemodialysis patient start planning for a trip?

Oneshould start planning at least 6-8 weeks in advance, perhaps longer forpopular vacation destinations or during holidays. Discuss your planswith your kidney specialist (nephrologist) and obtain his approval from amedical standpoint.

Your local dialysis centers will sometimehave a social worker or nurse who is familiar with arranging dialysisaway from your home town and can assist you in finding a localhemodialysis center in the town you are visiting(travel dialysiscenter).

If your center is not able to do this, find out whichnational company is involved in your dialysis care and call their tollfree number.   The 2 largest companies are: DaVita(1-800-244-0680 ordavita.com) and Fresenius(1-866-889-6019 or fresinius.com).  Theycan help you find a dialysis center in the town you are visiting.

You can also go to www.globaldialysis.com to find local dialysis centers all over the world.

What if one has to travel in an emergency or short notice?

Mostdialysis centers will be sympathetic and try to accommodate yourneeds.  Use your dialysis center staff, the above phone numbers andwebsites to make arrangements.

What adjustments will have to be made?

Youmay not always get into your first choice for dialysis center, you mayhave to drive a bit longer or take a different shift than you are usedto. If you plan ahead none of the above may be an issue, but be preparedto be flexible, especially if on short notice.

What information will be needed at the travel dialysis center?

Youwill need to provide them with your name, address, contact information,your hometown dialysis center contact number, the dates you needdialysis, your vascular access type and dialysis prescription.

Inaddition they will need a copy of your medical history & physical,list of medications, laboratory results, EKG, CXR, 4-6 recent treatmentrecords and any special dialysis requirements.

They will also needyour insurance information, along with the name and contact number ofyour physician. Give them the address and local telephone number for theplace you are staying at.

Are there extra costs out of my pocket for this?

Medicarewill pay for 80% of the costs within the United States and itsterritories, but the patient is responsible for 20%. Your secondaryinsurance may cover this 20%, but travel dialysis centers may requireyou to pay this upfront and bill your insurance later.

Medicaid by and large will not pay for treatment outside your home state and you will be responsible for the costs.

Ifyou have private insurance, it is best to have a letter in writing thatthey will pay for your treatment at the travel dialysis center.

Always inquire if the physician fee is your own responsibility or billed to the insurance.

What about peritoneal dialysis and travel?

Travelis usually quite a bit simpler since you don’t need a fixedappointment, but make sure to call the peritoneal dialysis center atyour destination and see if they would be able to assist you if problemsarose. Provide them with a copy of your pertinent medical records:history & physical, labs, EKG, CXR, dialysis prescription, list ofmedications etc.

You should carry enough supplies for the entire trip and some extra in case of problems.

Ifyou are traveling for a prolonged period of time, have suppliesdelivered to your destination and make sure they have arrived prior todeparture.

What if I get sick while traveling?

Thetravel dialysis center at your destination will be able to handle yourneeds through their physicians. Carry a complete legible copy of yourpertinent medical records including medical problems, surgeries done,list of allergies, list of medications and contact information for yourphysician and family.

What about home hemodialysis and travel?

Mosthome hemodialysis patients get dialyzed in a local travel dialysiscenter at their destination, however some do travel in motor homes or goto campsites with electrical hook ups and are able to performhemodialysis. Information can be found at travelingdialysisRVassociation.com.

What if I am on a transplant list?

Ifyou are on a transplant list kindly inform your transplant coordinatorabout your travel plans and give contact information. If you wish to be“on hold” during the trip, please do so if you cannot get back in areasonable amount of time.

What other resources are available?

Websites that maybe informative are:

Please visit the national kidney foundation local offices for list of camp grounds that are amenable to dialysis patients.

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