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Poor Quality of Cabin Air in the Plane Can Cause DVT, After A Long Flight

by Medindia Content Team on March 10, 2006 at 6:38 PM
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Poor Quality of Cabin Air in the Plane Can Cause DVT, After A Long Flight

Airlines are in a tight spot after it was suggested that , one of the major causes of DVT after long flights, could be poor cabin air quality.DVT is not caused by mere sitting in cramped conditions on long flights according to researchers, who suggest that cabin air quality may also play a key role. A study in today's issue of the Lancet journal seems to throw up plausible risk factors risk factors.

Low cabin air pressure and poor oxygenation can increase the risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) in passengers who are prone to this problem, according to the study. The airlines, though, beg to differ on this and have said that DVT can also occur long after a flight, and not so much because of a long flight, thus to really pin a connection is perhaps not right. Clotting, can also take place in other forms of activity like sitting and reading a book.

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A team led by Professor Frits Rosendaal of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, closely observed levels of a main clotting protein called thrombin-antithrombin (TAT) complex among 71 healthy men and women aged 20-39. A specially-chartered Boeing 757 carried the volunteers for a non-stop eight-hour flight. Blood samples were collected prior, during and after the flight.

The same groups of volunteers were subjected to similar tests while on a movie spree, the group watched movies for eight hours at a stretch that saw them sedentary for eight long hours. Regular activity on a normal day for eight hours was also monitored for the group.
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After the flight, the levels of TAT complex shot up by an average of 30%, but dropped by about 2% after the cinema, and by nearly 8% subsequent to the everyday routine chores. The post-flight increase in levels was pronounced in 11 of the 71 individuals, especially those who consumed oral contraceptives and also had factor V Leiden.

The findings effectively reveal that clot formation after a long trip is highly possible. The researchers also suggested that low cabin pressure and low oxygen level could also lead to DVT. The silver lining amid this DVT cloud is just adopting some simple techniques or consuming medication to gear up for the DVT risk after long flights.

The hints include, reducing alcohol on a flight, constant movement of the legs by stretching or wearing the compressive stockings which improves blood circulation. The potent prescription drug called heparin is also effective in combating DVT. Of course there are side-effects, therefore a medical specialists' advice is necessary before consuming this drug.

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