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Fit to fly assessment

Hypoxic inhalation test (HIT)

A test to monitor your blood oxygen level and heart rate to determine if you'll need supplemental oxygen during a flight

About

The change in cabin pressure during a flight could cause your blood oxygen level to drop. While this isn't a problem for most passengers, it can affect people with certain heart or lung conditions. A 'fit to fly' assessment can determine whether you'll need supplemental oxygen when you fly.

Expertise

  • What happens icon plus

    This straightforward test usually involves taking a small blood sample from your earlobe to check your baseline blood oxygen level. You'll then breathe in a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen through a special mask. This mixture is designed to simulate the environment of an aircraft cabin during flight. Your respiratory physiologist will monitor your heart rate and the oxygen level in your blood as you breathe. If your blood oxygen drops below a certain level, they'll give you supplemental oxygen to breathe until it returns to normal. The test itself takes around 20 minutes.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. They'll let you know if there is anything specific you need to do to prepare. This may include avoiding certain medications before your test.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Some people may feel out of breath or tired after the test. Your respiratory physiologist will make sure your blood oxygen level returns to normal and that you feel well enough before going home. Your consultant will review the results of your test to determine if you're able to fly and whether or not you'll need supplemental oxygen. If you do, most airlines will supply this, and your consultant can provide a letter stating your medical need. They can also talk to you about other steps you can take to stay comfortable and healthy in flight and on your travels.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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