Just two weeks after we reported a 20 per cent increased risk of catching some virus while on a flight, researchers have now discovered that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a bigger threat than was thought.
Researchers assess the risk at one per cent, especially for those who frequently fly long-haul. Interestingly, the usual preventative measures - taking aspirin and wearing special compression stockings - seemed to have only a limited effect.
Researchers from the New Zealand Air Traveller's Thrombosis study monitored the health of 878 air travellers who frequently flew long-haul, defined as any flight longer than 10 hours. After flying, the participants were tested, and four had pulmonary embolism and five had deep venous thrombosis. Of those, six had a preclinical risk factor and two had a recognized thrombophilic risk factor. All nine had taken some preventative action - five had taken aspirin and four were wearing compression stockings.
(Source: The Lancet, 2003; 362: 2039-44).