Is it safe to fly with an active brain AVM? Has anyone done it if so? And if you are symptomatic, was it a horrible experience?

Many times both short and long haul flights without any problems but that could be just me being fortunate to have no problems whatsoever. I'm interested to know experience from others here. I specifically asked my neurosurgeon this question and was told that there is no reason to stop flying as you have been doing up to now.

I flew every year two or four times. When I found out about me AVM I was curious if it was dangerous for me and the doctor said not at all the airplane is compressed therefore there is no harm. If you were to go scuba driving then that could be a problem as there is alot of pressure. if you are planning on going somewhere I hope it's warm and there is alot of sand!!!

My AVM is on my head but not in the brain. I was told it's OK to go on big planes but not OK to go on small planes because they aren't pressurized. I flew from Iowa to NYC in a big commercial plane with no problem. I was also told not to scuba dive--not a big sacrifice since I live in land-locked Iowa.

Yeah, Holly is coming to Ontario :)

omg that is amazing!

LOL It's a 12 hour drive so we are investigating ways to get her here quicker :) and pain free :)

Our options keep getting better. Think they will let Cooper sit in my lap? ;)

My fiance was cleared to fly to Hawaii (5 hour flight) at the last minute. Two and half months before, he had a focal seizure, so his doctor wanted to make sure that there was no continuous seizure activity. The doctor told him to take lorazepam shortly before the flight to make sure he was calm and relaxed. Overall, he fared pretty well doing this and didn't have too many problems and he was able to enjoy a long overdue vacation since being diagnosed (2009) with his large AVM. Now, we're going to see if the doctor will clear him to go to France this fall after having a seizure in late December 2011. If anything, it doesn't hurt to ask or try; must keep living life and try to enjoy it the best that you can.

Can't wait to see you on tv!


About 6 months before my AVM blew (and at the time I didn't know I had the AVM), I took a flight to Vancouver. It had 1 stopover and I was fine until the last leg of the flight on my way back home. I got THE WORST pain in my head as we were descending to land. It really felt like my head was going to implode. It went away after landing and I was fine. I went to urgent care because it REALLY worried me and they said all I had was sinusitis. They gave me some pseudofed and sent me on my way.

I also took a flight 1 week before my AVM blew, with no problems whatsoever. And there was no pain like that previous trip and I came back fine. I also went to Six Flags for a whole day on that trip. I really do think THAT was the reason my AVM blew exactly a week later...

I don't know if the head pain on the flight to Vancouver was related to the AVM or it really was a sinus thing, but it's a curious thing when I look back on it now.

Just my experience, be careful and good luck!!

Hi Holly. It is always best to ask your doctor. However, I was allowed to fly after my bleed and before my craniotomy. Which airline are you flying on?

No details yet. Just evaluating travel options for safety and comfort. As nice as it would be to get away, it's not worth a set back or worse, so I want to feel good about it. I'm still with the doctor I don't have faith in so asking won't make me feel better sadly, but I plan to if I ever get in there. I'm glad to know others have traveled safely.

I need to have stereotactic radiosurgery and in NZ there is only one place that does it, I will be flown there as it would take a couple days to drive, so I figure flying must be ok since drs have told me to fly and it will be part of my treatment :)

Oh Jim… I work for USAirways…mainline…ask any staff employee…tell them you have a TBI…brain injury…they will help you!!!

Enjoy your trip Jim! :)