If you're travelling on a long-haul flight, there are several ways you can reduce your risk of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Here's some valuable information to read before you go...
Travel-related deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was first reported in 1954 in a 54-year-old doctor who developed a blood clot following a 14-hour flight. The condition was soon dubbed "economy class syndrome" by researchers who believed that there was a link between DVT and long-haul air travel in cramped conditions.
The actual number of people who get DVT from travelling on long-haul flights is unknown and is difficult to determine, as the condition can be symptomless and may not occur for some time after travel. However, there is some evidence to suggest that certain groups of people are at increased risk of developing DVT on flights of eight hours or more.
DVT high-risk factors:
DVT occurs when blood flows too slowly through the veins. The blood forms a clot that blocks up deep veins, usually in the legs. DVT doesn't generally have any immediate symptoms making it difficult to spot. However, typical signs include a swollen or painful calf or thigh (can be very specific like a pulled muscle), paleness and increased heat around the affected area. If left untreated, people with DVT are at risk of developing a pulmonary embolism when part of the blood clot breaks away and travels to the lung, which can be fatal.
Before You Travel:
Recovering from DVT
If you have recently had DVT you are probably taking medication to prevent the formation of blood clots. If that's the case then your risk of developing DVT is low and there is no reason why you can't travel including long-haul. However, if you're still in the recovery phase, you should get the all-clear from your GP/specialist before travelling.
DVT prevention advice - if you are planning a long-distance plane, train or car journey, ensure that you:
Happy, Comfortable & Safe travels!
Lesley is a registered and qualified Remedial Massage, Lymphatic & Lymphoedema Therapist based in Queenstown. She trained at Canterbury College of Natural Medicine and is a certified Vodder & Lymphoedema Therapist. She has a special interest in surgical recovery, chronic pain especially low back/hip pain and reduction of lymphoedema/lipoedema/oedemas.