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Z Kardiol. 2002 Aug;91(8):605-13.

[Traveler's thrombosis].

[Article in German]

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Deutsches Herzzentrum Lazarettstrasse 36 80636 M√ľnchen, Germany.


It is pathophysiologically conceivable that prolonged sitting in a tight space (e.g., in airplane or other transport vehicle) may lead to leg vein thrombosis. The association between the incidence of venous thromboembolism and long travel has not been sufficiently documented but seems probable. However, this association is only weak and the incidence of symptomatic thromboembolism much lower than the impression given by the recent publicity. In a healthy person, the risk of suffering a clinically relevant leg vein thrombosis solely because of a flight is extreme low. In persons with risk factors for venous thromboembolism, the flight represents an additional, as yet not quantifiable risk. This risk increases with the duration of the travel. The most important cause of thrombosis during long journeys seems to be venostasis due to relative immobilization. It is not clear whether flight travel represents a higher risk of thrombosis compared to other transport vehicles with comparable duration and immobilization. Until more exact information becomes available, it seems reasonable to recommend simple isometric and isotonic leg exercises during long travel. More aggressive measures must be considered for persons with risk factors for thromboembolism, but these measures should be individualized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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