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Had vertebral artery dissection and stroke. CT scan done. Should I be concerned about flying with narrow artery?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 362 Questions
My boyfriend had a vertebral artery dissection 5 months ago and a stroke as consequence ( 42y/o male, smoker at the time) from a neck manipulation. The 5 month CT showed healed but 95% occluded vessel and neuro cleared him to fly in october ( 8 months after VAD). With that narrowed vertebral artery are we to be worried about pressure changes from flying? He is not currently on blood-thinners as they caused a hemorrhage 3 weeks after his VAD. His BP is always low/normal but his cholesterol is elevated ( recently started on Zocor). Should we be concerned about flying with that narrow artery so long after the incident? Does flying increase pressure in arteries in general that we should be concerned that there is only 5% flow through the right vertebral artery?
Posted Wed, 1 Aug 2012 in Stroke
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 1 hour later

Thanks for writing in.

There are clear recommendations regarding air tavel and stroke. Its prohibits air travel in the immediate 4 - 6 weeks of the onset of stroke. Once stable air tavel is not a problem. Since, your friend had stroke quite some time ago, its not a concern at all.

Ther is no changes in the arterial perssures during the air tavel. Hence if his blood pressure remains stable, there is no cause of concern. Occlusion of vertebral artery of 95% wont cause any problem for his air travel.

So please be reassured and plan ahead.

Hope this clarifies your concern.

Do get back if you need any further information.


Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had vertebral artery dissection and stroke. CT scan done. Should I be concerned about flying with narrow artery? 3 hours later
Great to hear! He also wanted to know and clarify that , since he has generalized anxiety /strong fear of flying , will that raise his BP enough that flow through that artery will be problematic potentially. Since he is on lorazepam I hope that will keep his BP down but are normal spikes in BP through activities like fear/excercise/sex etc problematic?
Answered by Dr. Kiran Kumar 38 minutes later

Well there can be a problem if the blood pressure goes low. Because if the BP is goes below 80 - 90 systolic, it can reduce the blood supply to thatside of the brain. Normal increases inblood pressure will not cause any problemsw.r.t thevertebral artery blockage.

Be reassured.


Dr Kiran
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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