The term “economy class syndrome” described a potentially serious condition that could occur due to prolonged immobility in a cramped position. It refers to the formation of blood clots in the deep vein systems of the calf area, where in some instance; the clot may get dislodged from the vein, and travels through the blood system and eventually get lodged in more likely, the lung.
The latter stage is associated with incidence of sudden death. But the clots that remain in the vein of the calf area are not to be taken lightly either, as it could bring serious tissue damage, skin lesions, ulceration, and possible requirement for limb removal.
To prevent this condition, passengers on a long-haul flight are encouraged to do leg exercises from time to time while seated, i.e. bending and extending, and rotation of ankles to promote circulation in the lower legs. But cramped leg space area in the Economy Class restricts such movement, and hand luggage stowed under seats, add further to the restriction. On the other hand, many airlines discourage unnecessary walk in the cabin for safety reason.
A small and simple device that can be used by airplane travelers to exercise their calf muscles and encourage blood circulation while in their seated position was developed by Professor Dr Pan Kok Long of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
A patent filing for utility innovation has been granted.
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