by Mary Anna Marshall, CPhT, Certified Compression
Do you know the risks and precautions regarding
blood clots during air travel?
There is an increased awareness for a potentially
dangerous condition. This problem exists within
the air travel public because it is necessary to
sit for hours in a cramped “coach” seat.
“Deep Vein Thrombosis” (DVT) is a medically dangerous
condition. DVT begins when blood pools in the legs
and forms a clot. A DVT happens when the clot gets
stuck in a vein of the leg. DVT’s are very painful,
and can lead to life-threatening health complications.
Complications occur when a piece of the clot breaks
off and travels to other parts of the body. For
example, a clot traveling into the brain can cause
a stroke. A combination of gravity and inactivity
makes clots more likely to form. Airline travel
is one of many risk factors for DVT.
Travelers of all ages may be faced with the hazards
of blood clots. A few prevention steps will cut
your risk of developing DVT. Fortunately it’s not
hard to reduce the risk of DVT during travel. The
secret is to look for opportunities to move the
muscles of the legs, including claves and thighs,
on a regular basis whenever possible. Additional
risk factors and suggested prevention steps are
Risk Factors for DVT
• Chronic Heart Disease
• Recent trauma or surgery
• Hormone therapy / birth control
• Any previous DVT
• Varicose veins
• Alcohol consumption
• Constrictive Clothing
Prevention of DVT
• Stand up and stretch several times during each
• Stretch and contract calf muscles with vigorous
• Avoid alcohol.
• Drink plenty of water during flight.