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high altitude simulation tests (hast)

If you have a chronic lung condition or if you are short of breath you may need oxygen at altitude to fly safely

fitness to fly

For many people with lung conditions, the low oxygen and low pressure environment of the cabin can prove to be very demanding on their cardiac and respiratory systems.

All airlines are requird to maintain at least 75% of the air pressure at sea level. This lower air pressue equates to reduced oxygen levels. The body increases its breating rate to counter this reduction in oxygen. A healthy individual could expect to see thir oxygen saturations drop to 5% of normal. People with lung problems however, can experience a sharp decrease in oxygen levels especially while performing light exercise (such as standing and sitting) and therefore may require in-flight oxygen.

how do you know if you need in-flight oxygen?

tips for the traveller

A High Altitude Simulation Test (HAST) performed at the John FlynnRespiratory Centre can help detrmine if you require in-flight oxygen. A HAST simulates the low oxygen environment experienced while flying and measures any drops in oxygen levels while sitting and while performing light exercise (sitting and standng).

If oxygen levels fall below 85%, then the acquisition of in-flight oxygen may be recommended. This can be determined by a Respiratory Physician after interpreting the results of the HAST.

Holidays are generally fun events. However careful planning is required to prevent the onset of respiratory exacerbations or to prevent the worsening of an already existing respiratory condition.

  •  Buy a flexible ticket and ensure you have adequate travel insurance
  • Take all of your medical documentation with you
  • Arrange your oxygen (if required) well in advance
  • Request a seat near the bathroom
  • Take suitcases with wheels