Physicians are frequently asked by patients with heart disease whether adverse physiological effects are produced by flying. Uppermost in the patient's mind are two major considerations: (1) will flight be harmful and (2) would it be preferable for him to seek other means of transportation? In most instances, Graybiel1 points out, the question is readily answered: in the absence of serious illness, the stresses that might be encountered during flight are easily borne, the problem narrowing down to one of passenger comfort, while in the case of patients with serious illness, a direct reply can be given only after a careful evaluation of the factors responsible for producing travel stress.
Early in commercial aviation it was feared that many patients with heart disease might suffer en route. This fear was largely allayed as the result of a report published in 1941 that showed that out of a total of