Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis during a flight is often overestimated

27.07.2009
On the other hand, the risk associated with having your leg in a cast or splint is higher than many believe

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 develop deep vein thrombosis: only 20 out of every 10,000 travellers were affected (0.2%). The Institute did not find any convincing evidence that people who flew for less than 4 to 6 hours had an increased risk of thrombosis.

“By the way,” says Professor Sawicki, “if you want to lower your risk by wearing compression stockings, you should put them on at least 2 hours before the flight and keep them on throughout the entire journey. Research has shown that these stockings lower the risk of deep vein thrombosis somewhat when used in this way.”

Wearing a cast or splint increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis

If people have to wear a cast or splint, for example after fracturing a bone or tearing a ligament, they can only move their leg a little bit, if at all. Many people do not know that this also increases the risk of developing a blood clot in a vein in their leg or pelvis. “To prevent serious complications, it is important to get back on your feet and move around again as soon as possible,” stresses Professor Sawicki. “If that is not possible, for example because putting strain on the leg too soon could slow down recovery, there are effective medications that can be used.” These so-called “anticoagulant” medications reduce the blood’s ability to clot. Heparins are among the most established anticoagulant medications. They are injected subcutaneously (under the skin).

Today the Institute published up-to-date and evidence-based information about how effective these medications are at preventing thromboses in immobilised legs. The Institute's website, www.informedhealthonline.org, provides the public with easy-to-understand information about current medical developments and research on important health issues. If you would like to be kept up-to-date with the latest publications on the independent health information website, you can subscribe to the informedhealthonline.org newsletter.

Hilda Bastian | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iqwig.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>