Long Flights Linked to High Risk of Blood Clots

by Rajashri on Jul 7 2009 7:58 PM

A review of previous studies by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston has said that long flights increase the risk of potentially fatal blood clots. The condition called venous thromboembolism (VTE) can prove to be fatal if the clot travels to the lungs.

The review of 14 studies involved 4,055 cases blood clots or VTE. It found that patients who were long-haul travelers had a three-fold higher risk of blood clots than non-travelers.

"What is key is if you're traveling and you begin to feel unwell when you arrive, or even over the following week or two, and you have some symptoms for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or venous thromboembolism (VTE) is to go get evaluated right away," said study co-author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian.

Additionally for every two hours of additional travel by any mode increased blood clot risk by 18%. If the mode of travel was air, the risk increased by 26%.

Some of the ways to prevent blood clot formation include movement of legs, drinking lots of water, avoiding alcohol and walking in the plane or train every hour or so, according to

The details of the study are published in the July 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.