Lifestyle Advice

  • Travel Information

    The majority of people with congenital heart disease can and do fly/travel long distances around the world. If you are unsure ask at your outpatient appointment or contact the Adult Congenital Nurse Specialist. The most important point to remember is to ensure that you declare your heart condition when booking travel insurance. Any omissions or mistakes made in relation to your medical condition can be used as grounds to refuse your claim if made.

    If necessary a medical letter can be provided, but the majority of companies do not require this. We can provide you with a list of insurance companies and The Somerville Foundation is also a useful source of information Tel: 0800 854 759, website

  • Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist

    The role of the specialist physiotherapist is to provide help and advice on all physical activity issues for adults with congenital heart conditions. Exercise and activity is important for everyone even with a congenital cardiac condition, but it is important to work at the right level for your condition. The physiotherapist is able to offer the support you require to continue with activities. All advice needs to be individual to you and your heart and the physiotherapist could help you with

    • Identifying if a sport / activity is suitable for you and your heart
    • Advising on where to start and how to increase activity
    • Discussing if you need to limit particular activities
    • To help you achieve the appropriate level of fitness
    • Help you back to activity after heart surgery
    • If you want to know more about your heart condition and the effects of exercise

    Please contact Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist Sarah Hibbert 0113 392 6361

  • Career Advice

    It is important that you know where to get the right career advice as you may need to be realistic about your career options. Those with rigorous fitness tests such as the armed forces or police may not be an option. However that is not to say that there is not the right job out there for you. Connexions direct are a really useful source of information offering advice on education choices and careers. They can be contacted on 0808 001 3219 or

    You may feel that your heart condition may make it difficult for you to find a job. The website is a useful resource with information about disability employment advisers who can help you to find a job to suit you or help in practical ways to enable you to work.

  • Insurance

    It can be difficult for some people who have congenital heart disease to get insurance. This is often because companies do not have the medical knowledge relating to specific congenital heart conditions or there is a lack of long-term survival data available. This can cause problems when tying to buy a house or get life insurance.

    The best advice is to shop around as there can be marked differences between companies. It is important that you inform the insurance company of your medical condition to ensure that you are fully covered. There are some more sympathetic insurers who can be identified and contacted through the Somerville Foundation Tel: 0800 854759, Somerville Foundation

  • Contraception and Pregnancy

    Contraception and pregnancy may have implications for people with congenital heart disease. It is especially important for girls with congenital heart disease to avoid unplanned pregnancies. It is also important that you know what types of contraception are okay for you to use as not all of them are suitable for people with congenital heart disease.

    Even though this is something you might not have thought of yet, contraception and possible future pregnancies will be discussed with you in the Adult Congenital Heart clinic. This is to give you as much information as possible so that you can make choices about your future when you are ready. If you would like some more information about contraception you can contact your GP or:

    • The Adult Congenital Nurse Specialists, Tel 0113 392 8154