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Who is at risk of a DVT
All passengers are susceptible to developing a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), economy, business and first class flyers.
DVT is not, however, exclusive to long haul travellers, and any mode of transport which entails long periods of immobility may be responsible for DVT, including long bus, car and train journeys
Every year DVT occurs in about 1 in 2000 people in the general population, ranging from less than 1 in 3000 in people under the age of 40 up to 1 in 500 in those over 80. Some people are more susceptible to DVT than others. As a general rule, the risk of DVT automatically increases for those aged over 40, with less than 1 in 3,000 people aged under 40 effected by DVT, but 1 in in those over 80. This can also be compounded by one or more of the following risk factors
- Previous thrombotic episodes (especially pulmonary embolism)
- Documented thrombophilic abnormality
- Certain blood disorders
- Prior history or currently suffering from malignant disease e.g. cancer
- Congestive heart failure
- Recent surgery (especially lower limbs)
- Pregnancy or recently had a baby
- Post-thrombotic Syndrome
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Hormone treatment (including the oral contraceptive pill and oestrogen) containing hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Recent major surgery or injury, particularly affecting the lower limbs or abdomen, especially hips or knees
- Research has also suggests that smoking, obesity and varicose veins can also compound your susceptibility to DVT.
:In addition to the above, when flying DVT becomes more of a risk factor if you experience
- Extended periods of immobility
- A cramped position for the duration of the flight (this may include keeping a seated posture for the duration of the flight)
- Dehydration as a result of alcohol intake.
- Compression of the popliteal vein by the edge of the seat.
It is vital to keep a level head, if you are concerned that DVT is a hindrance to flying. If you have any concerns or doubt, consult your local GP or travel clinic for expert advice.
Above all with regard to the general public, those at greatest risk are travellers who fail to move about and exercise during the flight.
What is a DVT
DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Blood should flow smoothly throughout the body without clotting. A blood clot is a thickening of the blood that the body normally forms to stop bleeding. Blood clots only become a problem when they develop inside a vein and block the normal flow of blood.
Problems occur when a blood clot firmly attaches to a vein. This can partly or completely block the flow of blood in that vein. This blockage stops the tissues in that location from getting normal blood flow and oxygen. If the blockage is not treated promptly it can result in damage or even death of the tissues in that area.
A blood clot that forms in a vein and remains there is called a thrombus. A thrombus that travels from the vein where it formed to another location in the body is called an embolus. When a blood clot occurs in a leg or pelvic vein it is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When a blood clot travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism
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