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The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis during a flight is often overestimated
Date:7/23/2009

This release is available in German.

The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis during a long flight is often overestimated. According to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), this condition is very unlikely in healthy travellers. When people wear a cast or splint after a sports accident, on the other hand, many are not aware that they have an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis in their leg and pelvic area. This is emphasised in information published today on IQWiG's website Informed Health Online.

Blood clots can travel to lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism

If you are unable to move your legs regularly, blood flow through your veins is slower than usual. As a result, blood may clump together, forming a blood clot which can lead to deep vein thrombosis. "This can become dangerous if the blood clot dislodges, travels to the lungs and blocks a blood vessel there," says the Institute's Director, Professor Peter Sawicki. "This complication, called a pulmonary embolism, can reduce the supply of oxygen to the body's cells, overstrain the heart and even cause heart failure."

Even in higher-risk groups the risk of air-travel-related thrombosis is still well below half a percent

During the travel season we often hear that long-haul flights increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (sometimes called "economy class syndrome"). The Institute summarised the results of research on deep vein thrombosis and air travel, involving the experiences of millions of air travellers. They found that only about 2 to 5 out of every 10,000 people who took a flight longer than 6 to 8 hours developed deep vein thrombosis that caused symptoms (at the most 0.05%). Even people who had a higher risk for example, because they had large varicose veins or were very overweight were not highly likely to dev
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Contact: Hilda Bastian
information@iqwig.de
49-221-356-850
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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