Window seats on long haul flights increase risk of DVT
Frequent jet-setters who often travel on long haul flights are being warned that sitting in a window seat could increase their risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The doctors have also discovered the risk of developing DVT is just as high for first class passengers as it is for those sitting in economy, contrary to popular belief.
The warnings are part of new guidelines for long distance travellers that have been published by the American College of Chest Physicians.
Health experts are also warning that taking the contraceptive pill, being pregnant, elderly or obese and having limited mobility can increase passenger’s DVT risk.
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Additionally, flyers that have recently undergone surgery or those suffering from cancer or with broken bones are considered high risk too.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as the doctors believe drinking alcohol while on board does nothing to contribute to DVT.
After reviewing existing evidence, researchers from the American College of Chest Physicians believe the reason sitting next to the window carries more hazards is because people are less inclined to get up and move around or move their legs.
Although they admit the risk of developing DVT on a flight is rare, the researchers claim it is becoming more common in passengers who have flown for periods longer than eight to 10 hours.
“For those on flights over four hours, immobility during the flight and window seating (especially for obese persons) also increase the risk,” the researchers added.
The new guidelines advise people with a high risk of DVT to take preventative measures such as wearing compression socks and taking aspirin or blood-thinning drugs, but this advice is not extended to low risk flyers.
Commenting on the findings one of the authors of the guidelines, Dr Mark Crowther, said: “Long-distance travellers sitting in a window seat tend to have limited mobility, which increases their risk for DVT.
“This risk increases as other factors are present.”
He added: “Travelling in economy class does not increase your risk for developing a blood clot, even during long-distance travel.”
Also discussing the new guidelines, the chair of the research panel, Dr Gordon Guyatt, said: “There has been a significant push in health care to administer DVT prevention for every patient, regardless of risk.
“As a result, many patients are receiving unnecessary therapies that provide little benefit and could have adverse effects.”
The results of the research and new guidelines have been published in the journal Chest.
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