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It will be at least two weeks before you can drive again

When you can start driving again will depend on your heart condition and the type of treatment you have.

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) guidelines state that you must not drive for at least two weeks after your heart attack. You may need to have an assessment done by a specialist prior to returning to driving.

If you have had a planned coronary angioplasty (stent), you should not drive for 48 hours after the procedure. If you have had a coronary artery bypass graft, you must wait for four to six weeks before you start driving again.

This is to ensure your breastbone is healing properly. It is important to talk to your doctor or specialist about when you can return to driving.

If you ever have  angina while driving, you should immediately pull over and follow your angina action plan.

Vocational licence

If you hold a vocational licence and drive passenger vehicles, for example a taxi, bus, truck, forklift or courier van, or fly an aeroplane, different rules apply. Generally you can apply to start driving four weeks after your heart attack. You will need to have an assessment done by a specialist before returning to driving. You should also check with your insurance company to ensure that you are fully covered.

Travelling

If you have planned or are planning an overseas trip it is best to discuss these plans with your doctor first. Each airline has a different policy for air travel following a heart attack. You may be advised not to travel until your condition is stable. It is recommended that you contact your airline prior to booking your flight. If you are going overseas you will need a travel insurance policy that will cover you for pre-existing conditions.

If you are planning on travelling to a country that has a time difference you need to discuss your medication regime with your doctor or pharmacist.

Contact the NZ Transport Agency for further information: Phone 0800 822 422 or visit www.nzta.govt.nz.

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