Travel related DVTs – risks, prevention, advice

  • 22 Jul, 2014
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Travel related DVTs – risks, prevention, advice

Deep vein thrombosis

DVT, or deep-vein thrombosis, is a condition which occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep leg vein (typically the calf or thigh). If the clot stays put, stuck to the wall of the vein, it causes redness and swelling to the area. But if part of it breaks off it can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolus) and cause serious illness or even death. It can also be a contributory cause of a stroke or heart attack. Unfortunately some DVTs cause no symptoms, for instance in the pelvis, and the first that is known of the condition can be a pulmonary embolism.

Why does it happen when flying?

Travel-related DVT is caused by sitting still for long periods of time in cramped conditions. The blood flow slows down and the blood collects in the legs when in a sitting position. Slow blood flow is more likely to cause a clot to form. A “long period of time” is considered to be four hours or more, and DVTs can be caused not only by flying but also travelling by car, coach or train. Read More