There are some medical conditions which can disqualify otherwise eligible people from serving or even enlisting in the U.S. military. Other conditions which may affect the ability to perform duties as a soldier, Marine, sailor or airman may not be as apparent.
Here are some of the medical conditions related to the heart that may preclude you from serving in the military. These get a bit technical, so check with a medical professional if you're unsure. And it's also a good idea to ask your recruiter for any updates to this list.
Heart Valve Function or Disease
Current or history of all valvular heart diseases, congenital or acquired, including those improved by surgery, are disqualifying. Mitral valve prolapse or bicuspid aortic valve is not disqualifying unless there is associated abnormally high heart rates (tachyarrhythmia), improper valve function (mitral valve regurgitation), narrowing of the artery (aortic stenosis), insufficiency, or an enlarging of the heart (cardiomegaly).
Other disqualifying conditions of the heart (unless otherwise noted, these restrictions apply for both past and current instances of the condition mentioned) are as follows:
- Coronary heart disease, a history of symptomatic abnormal heart beat rhythm (arrhythmia) or electrocardiographic evidence of arrhythmia
- Supraventricular elevated heart rate, or any abnormal heart beat (arrhythmia) originating from the atrium or sinoatrial node, such as atrial flutter, and atrial fibrillation, unless there has been no recurrence during the preceding 2 years while off all medications
- Premature atrial or ventricular contractions sufficiently symptomatic to require treatment, or result in physical or psychological impairment
- Ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation, tachycardia, or multifocal premature ventricular contractions, is disqualifying (however occasional asymptomatic unifocal premature ventricular contractions are not disqualifying)
- Ventricular conduction disorders, including, but not limited to disorders with left bundle branch block, Mobitz type II second degree atrioventricular (AV) block, and third degree AV block and Lown-Ganong-Levine-Syndrome associated with an arrhythmia
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, unless it has been successfully ablated for a period of two years without recurrence of arrhythmia and now with a normal electrocardiogram
- Disturbances such as first degree AV block, left anterior hemiblock, right bundle branch block, or Mobitz type I second degree AV block are disqualifying when symptomatic or associated with underlying cardiovascular disease
- Cardiomegaly, hypertrophy or dilatation of the heart
- Abnormality of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), including inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), or congestive heart failure
- Swelling and irritation of the pericardium (pericarditis), unless the individual is free of all symptoms for 2 years, and has no evidence of cardiac restriction or persistent pericardial effusion
- Current persistent tachycardia
- Congenital anomalies of heart and great vessels, except for corrected patent ductus arteriosus
Disqualifying Vascular System Conditions
Current or history of abnormalities of the arteries and blood vessels, including, but not limited to aneurysms, atherosclerosis, or arteritis, are disqualifying, as is a current or history of hypertensive vascular disease.
Elevated blood pressure defined as the average of three consecutive sitting blood pressure measurements separated by at least 10 minutes, diastolic greater than 90 mmHg or three consecutive systolic pressure measurements greater than 140 mmHg is disqualifying.
History of pulmonary or systemic embolization, and current or history of peripheral vascular disease, including, but not limited to diseases such as Raynaud’s Disease where blood flow is restricted or decreased to the digits causing obvious discoloration, are disqualifying.
And finally, current or history of venous diseases, including but not limited to recurrent inflammatory issues that cause blood clots to form and block one or more veins, usually in your legs (thrombophlebitis). Thrombophlebitis during the preceding year, or any evidence of venous incompetence, such as large or symptomatic varicose veins, edema, or skin ulceration, also is disqualifying.