Pneumothorax is a condition that requires careful medical attention to ensure recovery. When individuals with pneumothorax need to fly, they must find a solution that will keep them safe and healthy throughout transport, such as traveling in an air ambulance. Learn more about what this condition is and what pneumothorax flying restrictions you’ll need to consider before taking off.
What Is Pneumothorax?
Pneumothorax is when your lung collapses. This can occur when air leaks from the lungs into the space between the lungs and chest wall, also known as the pleural cavity. The excess air prevents the lungs from expanding fully. Pneumothorax can be caused by several incidents, such as:
- Blunt or penetrating chest trauma
- Rib cage injuries
- Certain medical procedures
- Excess pressure on the lungs
- Chronic lung diseases like asthma or cystic fibrosis
- Spontaneous occurrence
Symptoms of pneumothorax include sharp, stabbing chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, dry cough and rapid breathing or heart rate. Some minor instances of pneumothorax may eventually resolve on their own, but severe cases can be life-threatening and require medical attention. In these instances, air can become trapped and begin putting pressure on vital organs such as the heart.
Is It Possible to Fly After Pneumothorax?
Flying after pneumothorax is possible, but if you have yet to receive treatment, there are various risks to consider. Air pressure changes can negatively affect pneumothorax, causing the trapped air to expand and worsen the condition. You can fly with a collapsed lung, but you need to do so under the right conditions to preserve your health.
After your pneumothorax has been successfully treated, you can fly again with minimal concern. There will be no more excess air between your lungs or chest wall, so your lungs can expand properly and let you breathe safely at any altitude. You will need to check in with your doctor, though, to ensure your lungs have fully healed. Traveling too soon after a lung has collapsed and before you have had time to recover may cause your lung to collapse again.
Patients concerned about flying after pneumothorax treatment can travel with a medical escort on a commercial flight. A medical escort will ensure an individual has a safe trip by providing immediate medical attention should the individual need it while traveling. Flying with the assistance of a medical escort can bring peace of mind knowing that a professional is available to help in case of a problem related to your previous pneumothorax issues.
How Long Should You Wait to Fly After Pneumothorax?
How long after pneumothorax you can fly will depend on your condition and your doctor’s recommendation. After successful treatment where the air has been drained and the lungs can fully expand again, most patients can fly within one to three weeks. If you received other injuries or had major surgery to resolve the pneumothorax, you may need to wait longer before traveling. Some patients need six to 12 weeks before they have healed enough to begin flying again.
If you are experiencing severe pneumothorax and need to travel immediately to receive treatment, you may need to fly. This transportation method will get you to your treatment destination quickly, but you will need to consider safe flying options to ensure your safety since several risks are involved.
What’s Your Best Option for Flying After Pneumothorax?
Traveling on a commercial flight alone is not recommended when flying with pneumothorax. Air pressure changes will affect air expansion within the lungs, worsening your condition in a place without life-saving equipment or knowledgeable medical personnel. Commercial flights also depend on major airports, which may cause inconveniences or stresses that could aggravate your condition.
An air ambulance is one of the safest ways to travel when you have pneumothorax. These aircraft are equipped with the high-quality medical equipment found in an intensive care unit to provide the level of care you need to remain healthy throughout your flight. Also, an experienced medical crew will be readily available to care for your needs and keep you comfortable and safe while traveling.
Air ambulances are also a safe traveling option because they can adjust the cabin pressure to suit your condition. Through flight altitudes and technical measures, the ambulance can create an environment where the air pressure inside the cabin is similar to air pressure on the ground. With steady air pressure, you can enjoy a safer flight that helps to manage your condition.
Will Your Insurance Pay for a Flight After Pneumothorax?
Many insurers will help pay for medically necessary flights, such as when you experience injuries abroad and need to travel home to get appropriate treatment. You can contact your provider to discuss their policies for air ambulance coverage. Some may cover the expenses, while others may only cover part. You can also work with the air ambulance company you plan to fly with to discover the best payment options for you.
How Can REVA Help?
REVA has the highly skilled specialists and medically equipped aircraft to ensure comfort and safety as you travel with pneumothorax. We provide emergency and non-emergency air ambulance flights to help you get where you need to go with proper medical treatment along the way. It is our mission to enhance the lives of each of our patients while safely transporting them overseas or across the country.
At REVA, we understand the insurance process and can guide you through it step by step. We work closely with insurers and our clients to help determine coverage, prepare documents, appeal denials and arrange for transportation details. We accept all major carrier coverage to help you find the best payment options. Our relationships with in- and out-of-network companies enable us to handle the reimbursement process so that you can focus on your recovery.
We know that the road to healing starts with compassion, which is why we strive to create a comfortable experience catered to your needs. Our team is dedicated to clear and consistent communication. We even have multi-lingual specialists to update clients and their families on every aspect of the flight. Our Flight Nurse Case Managers ensure each transport meets the unique needs of every client.
REVA only employs highly skilled medical professionals and flight experts to ensure the well-being of every client who flies with us. We hold our medical, flight and ground crews to the highest industry standards to ensure client comfort and safety. Our medical professionals are updated on the latest technologies and medical procedures to provide the care you need and deserve throughout your flight.
We have various dedicated air ambulance aircraft that we maintain to high safety standards. We specifically designed our fleet to provide the appropriate medical environment our clients need throughout their flights. With room for a stretcher, high-quality equipment and medical professionals, our aircraft will create a comfortable and safe flying experience for every client. We also have strategic partnerships to bring an expansive fleet and range of services to meet our patients’ needs.
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Navigate the dangers of flying after a collapsed lung with security, safety and comfort with help from REVA. Request a quote today to learn more about flying with pneumothorax.