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barbaraW

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Hi,
I am going to see my parents in July and it is about a 5 hour plane ride. The last time I was on a plane I had difficulty breathing the last hour - shortness of breath, using auxillary muscles. I assume it is the lack of oxygen in the cabin. I got relief when I exited the plane. I get the same shortness of breath if the shower is too steamy and I get relief with fresh air.

My question is - would getting oxygen help? I have checked into it and the airlines provide it with Dr. approval, for $100 a flight. Or is there anything else that works?

I am on a bi-pap at night and last I was tested was at 65% FVC - although I think it has slipped since that last plane ride.

Thanks,
Barb
 

Al

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Hi Barbara. Have you asked your Pulmonologist about it? Myself being in the same boat I think I'd spend the money just in case.
AL.
 

joelc

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I heard the airlines will let you take your bipap and use it. This is your best solution, IMHO. Taking oxygen is not really a good idea for most PALS as it tricks your body into thinking it does not need to breathe. With most PALS there is nothing wrong with our lungs, or our ability to extract oxygen out of the air - our problem is that our diaphragm does not let us get a full breath.
Check with the airlines about taking your bipap.
 

Al

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While taking oxygen is not generally recommended for ALS patients in certain cases, aircraft cabins are pressurized to around 8000 ft cabin altitude. It you go that high in the mountains you will notice shortness of breath on exertion. This is why the teams playing in Denver or Mexico try to arrive early to climatize to the less O2 in the air. That's why I recommended asking the Pulmonologist, or an Aviation Specialist may even be able to answer that. I'm not sure if pumping O2 into you would help at altitude but my thinking is less air, less oxygen so it may help to supplement. Maybe not the whole flight but on an as needed basis. By the way Joel do you have any idea which airlines alow Bipap? This was an issue with us last year trying to travel. We couldn't find one.
AL.
 

jean

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Hi
Al is quite right about O2 being useful on the aircraft because of the level the cabin is pressurised to. It could be a simpler option , if bi-pap is not able to be used on the plane and cetainly would help in just the same way as it does for those at high altitude.There would be no detrimental effect ,because the shortness of breath is due to the reduced oxygen level in the cabin and taking oxygen would bring the levels back to a more normal %.
Best wishes
Jean
 

CindyM

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Al- I am out here in Denver and the airline let me take my CPAP along. They wiped it down at security to make sure it wasn't coated with explosives but the staff even knew the name of the machine. Is a pipap similar to a cpap in construction? Unless the pipap requires an oxygen tank I can't see what the issue is with the airlines. Cindy
 

Al

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They are similar except the Cpap is constant pressure and Bipap is bi level pressure. No 02 req'd as a rule. Where did you get your power for the cpap ? I thought that the planes didn't have 120v power and that is the problem. I've taken my machine all over just couldn't use it on the plane because of power issues.
AL.
 

CindyM

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Oh. I was wondering if you were talking about using it on the plane vs. merely carrying it. I just carried it along. Cindy
 

quadbliss

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Hi guys,

I used my Bi-Pap on many planes, just not for take offs or landings. I used a large gel cell marine battery (FAA approved) with a power inverter. We carried the battery and inverter strapped to a luggage carrier. This was before 9/11, so I don't know about current security regulations.

Mike
 

barbaraW

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good info

I will ask the respitory specialist and t he airlines and let you know what I find.

If anyone has used a bipap on a plane since 911 that would be good info!

Barb
 

paula B

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I also would like to know answer to this question
 

hboyajian

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My dad's bi-pap machine was about 4 times as big as my husband's c-pap machine. While the c-pap is about the size of a small toolbox, the bi-pap was the size of a carry-on suitcase, maybe even a little bigger than the measurement requirements, though it seems the airlines should allow for necessary medical devices. Great idea to use marine batteries, quadbliss. You are a super problem solver, never let anything stand in your way that can be figured out somehow! I understand the airlines are concerned about the potential of bombs being disguised as or concealed in medical devices, but it seems possible to have paperwork requirements such as registered/sealed letters from hospitals and doctors that authorize the use of medical equipment on a flight.
On another topic, my family has contacted airport security about carrying my dad's ashes (in the urn, which is a wooden box) on our flight this summer. We will also take an official death certificate. However, they say that if the urn does not pass the x-ray inspection, it will not be opened for a hand inspection (out of respect for the deceased). I understand this, however, if it doesn't pass, then we will have to put him in checked baggage....have somebody run all the way back to check him through in a suitcase. This is making my mother very nervous. She is worried they will lose him. We are going to Chicago and to rural Michigan to let my dad rest in the places that he loved in life.
 

Al

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My Bipap isn't much bigger than our 4 slice toaster. I did see a loaner model at the clinic last week that was the size of a good size microwave. I guess different models are different sizes. Mine is a Respironics and is a couple of years old.
AL.
 

CindyM

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Hi Holly- I hope your trip with you family goes well. It sounds like a very healing thing to do. Let's hope the urn passes inspection and your trip is uneventful. Cindy
 

barbaraW

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what the respitory therapist said

So here is what I found out:

supplemental oxygen is not a good idea - I didn't ask why

I asked why it is hard to breathe on an airplane: She said airplanes are pressurized to 7000 feet and the issue is much like high altitude and getting enough oxygen - you would need to breathe a lot to get enough oxygen and that tires out a weakened diaphram.

She said that some airlines allow bipaps on them. She wasn't sure about Continental so she is going to call them for me. If they do then I would go to the people that supply my bi-pap and buy a gel battery and a cable to connect them.

I asked if I could plug it to the electrical on the plane if they had it and she said no - it is not the right kind of power.

She asked what kind of bi-pap I have - it is a Res-Med - and she said good that the FAA recognizes that brand.

By the way I got a new bi-pap - the latest and greatest I guess and the dimensions are much smaller than my other one. about 8" x 5" x 15".

Thanks for the input and support!
 
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