Things You need to know

Advice on Driving

  • You can usually start driving a motor car one week after a heart attack unless advised otherwise by a doctor or cardiac nurse.
  • If you have any angioplasty and stent insertion after your heart attack then again you can drive one week after unless advised otherwise.
  • If you have had coronary artery bypass grafts you cannot drive for 6-8 weeks post surgery.
  • You do not need to inform the DVLA unless you are a newly diagnosed diabetic or have been started on insulin.
  • You do need to inform your insurance company, but by law insurance companies are not permitted to increase any premium or change conditions following heart related illness.
  • HGV and PCV drivers MUST inform the DVLA as group 2 entitlement is suspended after a heart attack and requires medical clearance to allow reinstatement.

Advice on Holidays

  • Most airlines will allow patients to fly after 7-10 days following a heart attack or angioplasty. Contact your airline to check their policy. Although we recommend at least 6-8 weeks after your heart attack, angioplasty or bypass surgery so you have had time to recover enough to enjoy your break. 
  • You must ensure you have valid travel insurance to cover your holiday. Even if you already have travel insurance and you do not inform them of any pre-exisiting medical conditions your insurance will not be valid and any claims will be void.
  • The British Heart Foundation website has a list of sympathetic travel insurance companies.
  • Plan to take at least an extra week of medication with you in case of any delays or emergencies.
  • Keep half a supply of your medication in your hand luggage and half in your suitcase in case your luggage is lost.
  • Keep active on the flight, move your legs at least every 30 mins
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluid to keep hydrated.

Returning to work

  • Before you return to work it is advisable to have a chat with your employers to see what system they have in place for phased returns.  It is recommended you take 6-8 weeks off work depending on the duties of your job.
  • Some people worry about not returning to work quickly due to money, you can contact Tameside welfare rights or the citizens advice bureau for any help and support that may be needed with this.


Relationship worries

  • It can be very stressful within your relationship after being diagnosed with a heart attack, as it not only affects the person who had the heart attack it also affects their close friends and family.
  • For men who have been commenced on certain beta blockers, it is common for impotence to be a problem, this can usually be resolved by changing you to a different beta blocker.
  • If you have any concerns regarding having a sexual relationship then please contact your GP or cardiac rehab nurses for further advice.