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Adv Biomed Res. 2015 Feb 23;4:60. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.151879. eCollection 2015.

Do pregnant women have a higher risk for venous thromboembolism following air travel?

Author information

Health Research Center, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Cardiology, Shahid Rajaee Heart Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Cardiology, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


International travel has become increasingly common and accessible, and it is part of everyday life in pregnant women. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious public health disorder that occurs following long-haul travel, especially after air travel. The normal pregnancy is accompanied by a state of hypercoagulability and hypofibrinolysis. Thus, it seems that pregnant women are at a higher risk of VTE following air travel, and, if they have preexisting risk factors, this risk would increase. There is limited data about travel-related VTE in pregnant women; therefore, in the present study, we tried to evaluate the pathogenesis of thrombosis, association of thrombosis and air travel, risk factors and prevention of VTE in pregnant women based on available evidences. Pregnancy is associated with a five- to 10-fold increased risk of VTE compared with nonpregnant women; however, during the postpartum period, this risk would increase to 20-80-fold. Furthermore, the risk of thrombosis is higher in individuals with preexisting risk factors, and the most common risk factor for VTE during pregnancy is a previous history of VTE. Pregnant women are at a higher risk for thrombosis compared with other women. Thus, the prevention of VTE and additional risk factors should be considered for all pregnant women who travel by plane.


Hypoxia; pregnancy; stress; travel; venous thromboembolism

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