Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Travel high altitude worried

Has anyone had problems with high altitude. I am planning a trip to Colorado from California. Just started thinking maybe altitude would be an issue. I had one clipped and one coiled aneurysm, shunt placement and onseizure medication. Neurologist says ok to fly but just worried about seizures. Any thoughts or experiences?

Hi Cristina,

I have now had 3 surgeries. 2 stents and 1 coiling. Each time I have to travel over 1000km to have the procedures done and I fly home afterwards with no problems at all. I usually fly home on the 3rd day after the procedure too so it’s very close after.

I hope you are the same and have no worries. I’m sure the neurologist wouldn’t allow it if there was even the slightest of concerns. You got this :+1:

Hey Cristina,
I had some similar concerns post surgery. I’ve had 6 surgeries and have a VP shunt. I had a long haul flight to take, so I did a short flight interstate. I found the landing difficult with the drop in pressure and had a headache afterwards but within an hour it settled.
So we did the long haul, Australia to the UK and this was fine. Whilst we were in the UK we took a quick flight to Amsterdam, trained it to France then flew back to the UK. The shorter flights I had an issue again with headaches but the long haul I had no issue whatsoever. The headaches didn’t last very long, thankfully, but that was my experience with high altitude travel.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

In my case, the ruptured aneurysm affected my central vestibular system. So, when I flew, I had severe ear pain from the plane descent and could not hear for a couple of days like the ear is full in high altitude. My ENT suggested ear plugs during ascent and descent which helped a lot and prevented the ear pain. So, I bring the foam ear plugs on all my flights.

Hi Cristina,

I flew 6 months after clipping for 3 hours and a half and I didn’t have any problem. I took 2 Tylenols before boarding the plane and I was just fine.

Take care

I fly to CO fairly regularly, having had intervention coiling 3 years ago. I may get migraines so if that is a problem for you, consider starting migraine meds a day or two prior to going. I’m not on seizure med so I’m afraid I can’t speak to that but just an FYI regarding my experience with migraines.

We’ve flown quite a bit since I ruptured, Seattle was our furthest flight and I was fine. I grew up in CA, went up to the mountains a lot. My partner grew up in Lemore. Prior to my rupture, we did our five year big vacation to NM. She got altitude sickness, I did not. Teased her about being a flat lander :wink:

If you do a search, there was a pilot who was very good at explaining safety of flying after procedure - pressurized cabin and several other things which I forget. Enjoy your trip!

I have had three seizures after probably 50 or so flights since clipping a PCA ruptured aneurysm. Time zone changes and lack of sleep with travel are my problem. I have learned to arrive one day prior to any activity and to sleep as much as possible in the 24 hours after landing. No coffee or alcohol for the day of travel and the day after. I fly to Colorado and am also cautious to not go up to the mountains for 2 days or so because of the altitude and thin oxygen. I haven’t had a seizure up there by waiting before I go up, but I do get headaches and need to sleep more. The plane is pressurized, but once you land, you have to adapt to the oxygen levels. Have fun and safe travels!

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Kate, the no caffeine and no alcohol is excellent advice! The first time I flew by myself I was 17 or 18 and the flight attendant told me the same thing. She also added to drink water or juice on the flight. I’ve done that ever since